Sharp increase in businesses and employees seeking to avoid employment tribunal claims
Figures released this week by Acas have revealed that the number of businesses and employees trying to avoid employment tribunal claims has risen in recent months.
The volume of calls every month to the Acas helpline referred to the early conciliation service – pre-claim conciliation (PCC) have almost doubled since September 2009. The free service aims to settle workplace issues which could escalate to an expensive tribunal.
As at the end of February, 8,304 PCC referrals had been made from the Acas helpline, with Acas estimating that more than 5,000 tribunal claims have been avoided already.
Interest in the service has resulted in a steady increase in referrals culminating in over 2,700 in the last quarter of 2009. The first quarter of 2010 is curry on track to exceed this figure by at least 20%, with a reported 300 referrals being received every week on average, and Acas expecting this number to rise to about 400 during 2010.
Commenting on the figures, Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair said:
“This data indicates that workers and employers are increasingly taking steps to avoid employment tribunals. The current economic climate has created difficult workplace challenges for managers, HR professionals and employees. The earlier issues can be sorted out, the more likely people will remain in productive employment in the workplace.
“The service is quick. Over half of all resolved cases are completed in around three weeks instead of the six to nine months that most tribunal claims take We have a responsibility to support the economic recovery by resolving workplace disputes early on and in doing so, avoiding costly, stressful and time consuming employment tribunals.”
The PCC service (more details of which are available from ACAS) was launched in April 2009 alongside the new Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures following the Government’s Dispute Resolution Review in 2007.