Claimants will be required to contact ACAS, who will attempt to promote a settlement, before a claim can be submitted to the Employment Tribunal. The period between 6 April to 5 May 2014 will be a transitional period during which prospective claimants can participate. EC will then be mandatory for claims presented on or after 6 May 2014, subject to limited exemptions.
The new EC procedure involves a four step process starting with submission of an EC form or a telephone call to ACAS and ending with the issue of an EC certificate by ACAS (if a settlement is not reached). EC will ‘stop the clock’ on the tribunal time limit for up to one month after receipt of the EC certificate. The period for EC will be one month which may be extended up to 14 days with the agreement of all parties.
Only time will tell whether there is an appetite to settle prior to commencement of proceedings in the tribunal.