Acas early conciliation period is extended from one month to six weeks

Implementation date: 1 December 2020

The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1003) extend the early conciliation period for Acas to try to help the potential claimant and employer to reach a settlement in advance of a possible employment tribunal claim. The prescribed period for early conciliation of one month is increased to six weeks, while the option for Acas to extend the early conciliation period by up to 14 days is removed.

The Regulations also amend the rules on early conciliation to allow Acas and employment tribunals more freedom in dealing with errors on forms. The changes allow:

  • Acas to contact the potential claimant to correct errors or obtain any missing information in the early conciliation notification form at any time during the early conciliation period; and

  • employment tribunals more discretion over handling errors on claim forms, such as an incorrect early conciliation certificate reference number (which a claimant must provide before a claim can proceed to a tribunal).