Employment relations body Acas has welcomed the publication of the Enterprise Bill, and the resulting role expansion given to the organisation.
Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair said:"We welcome Government plans that all potential employment tribunal claims will be offered early conciliation with Acas.
"This is the beginning of the legal process to enable all potential claims to a tribunal to come to Acas first to try and settle the disagreement before a claim is lodged at a tribunal. If conciliation didn't resolve the matter an employee can still make a claim to a tribunal.
"Problems at work can be a barrier to growing a business. At Acas we know that early intervention in workplace disputes avoids the stress, time and cost for all parties in employment tribunals. Early conciliation will enable workers and employers to resolve their own problems fairly and without having to face the prospect of an employment tribunal.
"Today's announcement starts to underpin in legislation a new service, which we expect will begin in April 2014, that builds on our existing pre claim conciliation service. This service has been independently tested and shows that businesses save on average £3,700 compared to resolving a dispute once an employment tribunal claim has been made. And employees save on average nearly £3,000 when resolving a PCC case compared with dealing with an employment tribunal claim.
"We're seeing demand for this service continue to rise and have dealt with over 23,000 pre claim conciliation cases during 2011/12. The pre claim conciliation service is currently successful in over 75% of cases - meaning that less than a quarter of cases which go through pre claim conciliation go on to be lodged with an employment tribunal.”