The Acas’ Early Conciliation service is now available. Contacting Acas will be a required step from 6 May 2014.
The aim is to use Early Conciliation to save people the time, cost and anxiety of facing an Employment Tribunal. It has been put in place to help an employee to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case, and be provided with ways of resolving it.
Early Conciliation gives both parties up to a calendar month initially in which to explore resolving their dispute using the services of an Acas conciliator. It can be shorter, or up to 14 days longer according to need.
When Early Conciliation has finished you will have at least one calendar month in which to submit a tribunal claim.
Early Conciliation will help resolve the majority of workplace disputes which may lead to an employment tribunal, including:
• unfair dismissal claims
• workplace discrimination
• redundancy payments or disputes around selection procedures
• deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay
• rights to time off or flexible working
• equal pay
Financial penalties for employers
As of 6 April 2014 Employee Tribunals will have the power to apply a penalty to the Secretary of State if it considers the employer’s breach of the rights to which the claim relates has one or more aggravating feature.
The value of such a penalty will be:
• 50% of any financial award, with a minimum threshold of £100 and a maximum cap of £5,000, but will be reduced by 50% if paid within 21 days
• The Tribunal orders a non-financial award; it will be able to ascribe a monetary value to it. The ability to order payment of such a penalty will only apply to claims presented on or after 6 April 2014
Other changes effective from 6 April 2014:
• The current rate of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay/Additional Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay will increase from £136.78 per week to £138.18 per week
• SSP: The rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £86.70 per week to £87.55 per week. The lower earnings threshold will increase from £109 per week to £111 per week
• Redundancy: The maximum amount of “a week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating a Statutory Redundancy Pay or for various awards including basic or additional awards for compensation in respect of unfair dismissal will increase from £450 per week to £464 per week. The maximum payment under the Statutory Redundancy Scheme will increase from £13,500 to £13,920 (£464 x 30 weeks)
• Unfair Dismissal: The limit on the amount of compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £74,200 to £76,574 (statutory cap) The maximum compensatory award is the lower of the statutory cap or 52 weeks’ pay. This is 52 times one week’s actual gross pay for the employee at the time of dismissal, calculated in the usual way. The limit on a week’s pay does not apply.
If you require support with these legislations changes please contact us. All legislation changes are already in hand for our retained clients.