The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service – more commonly known as ACAS – is a government body. It provides impartial support to both employers and employees, in an effort to resolve and reduce workplace disputes.
If you have a workplace problem, ACAS could be important to you in the following ways:
- You can phone ACAS’s free helpline on 0300 123 1100. But bear in mind that whilst they can provide you with preliminary advice, they will not be able to dedicate much time to exploring your case in detail.
- ACAS’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures sets clear standards on the processes that should apply to resolving problems. If you or your employer fail to follow these procedures, compensation you might receive at employment tribunal could be increased or decreased by up to 25%.
- Before beginning employment tribunal proceedings, it is compulsory that you first complete and submit an Early Conciliation Notification Form to ACAS. This provides them with the opportunity to try to negotiate a settlement between you and your employer without proceeding further. If agreement is reached, this is recorded as what is known as a COT3 Settlement Agreement.
ACAS publishes a series of very useful guides that are written for employers and employees. You might find these useful to understand your rights. They include:
- Discipline and Grievances at Work: The Guide
- Varying a Contract of Employment
- Advisory Booklet – Health, Work and Wellbeing
- Promoting Positive Mental Health in the Workplace
- Bullying and Harassment at Work: A Guide for Employees
- Equality and Discrimination: Understanding the Basics
- Discrimination: What to do if it Happens
- Age and the Workplace: A Guide for Employers and Employees
- Holidays and Holiday Pay
- The Right to Request Flexible Working: An ACAS Guide
A full list of publications, including some specific to different types of discrimination, is available here.
Support from WRS
WRS can help you understand how ACAS’s requirements apply to your particular circumstances.
We can also arrange for you to be represented at workplace meetings to ensure you benefit from your full rights.