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New extension to the standard Acas Early Conciliation period

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New extension to the standard Acas Early Conciliation period

New extension to the standard Acas Early Conciliation period

With effect from Tuesday 1 December 2020, new provisions on Acas Early Conciliation (‘EC’) will come into force, allowing a standard 6 week EC process in all cases.

The mandatory EC procedures came into force in May 2014 and must be followed by all prospective claimants who intend to begin certain employment tribunal proceedings (such as unfair dismissal, breach of contract and discrimination) against their employer or ex-employer. In brief, the employee must notify Acas of their intention by telephone or by submitting an EC notification form. An Acas EC support officer will then liaise with both parties, in an attempt to resolve the workplace dispute without recourse to litigation.    

Prior to 1 December 2020, whilst conciliation talks were ongoing, the limitation period (which dictates how long a claimant has to lodge their claim with an Employment Tribunal) was stopped for one month. There was also an option to extend the conciliation period by 14 days, if the parties were close to reaching settlement.   

With effect from 1 December 2020, the standard one month EC period will be extended to 6 weeks in all cases, without any possibility for an extension. This change has been implemented to simplify the EC process and allow Acas to deal with its rather considerable backlog.

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If you have any questions or issues relating to Employment law then please do not hesitate to contact Andra Stanton.