Real help now with disputes at work
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Issued Date: 03 Apr 2009
Resolving problems at work should now be easier for people and
businesses, Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden said today.
From Monday, a new streamlined process for resolving
disciplinary and grievance issues will come into effect. The central
aim of this is to reduce the number of people going to employment
tribunals and simplify the system for dealing with workplace disputes.
Minister for Employment Relations, Pat McFadden said:
"Tribunals can be costly, time-consuming and draining for
people and businesses alike.
"We have changed the rules so that employers and employees
will have greater flexibility to deal with grievances and disciplinary
issues at work at the earliest opportunity. Acas' expanded helpline and
conciliation services will play a key role in delivering this".
Employees and employers will be able to call the Acas helpline
for impartial and confidential advice on the options available for
resolving workplace problems. They will also be able to access a free
early conciliation service for certain types of cases, with the aim to
reduce the need for people to enter into full tribunal procedures.
Following the passage of the Employment Act 2008, a number of
obligations on employers and employees when dealing with workplace
issues have now been removed.
The previous system, which instructed employers to follow a
mandatory three-step system in resolving disputes, will be dismantled
and employers will instead develop systems which best suit their
workplace. Acas has developed a statutory code of practice to set out
best practice guidelines for employers.
Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said:
"We welcome these new changes and will be monitoring their
impact on the Employment Tribunal system closely. The aim is that,
where possible, it will be easier - and quicker - for both employees
and employers to resolve their disputes in the workplace, without
needing to escalate them to the Employment Tribunal. However, even
where this is not possible it will still mean a quicker and more
streamlined approach for those claims that do end up at the tribunal."
John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive said:
"These changes should help improve relationships between
managers and employees: cutting down disputes whilst saving time, money
and stress for all concerned."
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
"It is always best if employers, employees and their union
representatives can fairly resolve problems in the workplace. These new
dispute resolution arrangements rightly focus attention back on
internal grievance and disciplinary procedures."'
Katja Hall, Employment Policy Director at the CBI said:
"CBI members attached great importance to this review and are
pleased that the new regulations place substance rather than procedure
back at the heart of resolving workplace disputes. This, and the focus
on addressing problems at work early, will increase the number of
workers who stay in their jobs, have a positive impact on industrial
relations and can reduce costs for all parties."
Ben Wilmott, senior public policy adviser at the Chartered
Institute of Personnel and Development adds:
"As a result of these changes, I am optimistic that employers
will benefit from greater opportunities to resolve disputes in the
workplace before they escalate to the point where they end up in an
Notes to Editors
1. For details of the regulatory procedures that apply until 6
April and for those which apply from 6 April go to: http://www.direct.gov.uk/resol
vingdisputes and http://www.businesslink.
gov.uk/resolvingdisputes. For details of the transitional
arrangements that will apply go to http://www.berr.gov.uk/resolving
2. The Employment Act received Royal Assent on13 November
2008. It makes the following key changes to the law: a) the existing
statutory procedures for dealing with discipline, dismissal and
grievance issues, as set out in the Employment Act 2002, will be
repealed. b) employment tribunals will have discretionary powers to
adjust awards by up to 25% if employers or employees have failed
unreasonable to comply with the revised principles based Acas Code of
Practice and c) the fixed time limits on Acas post-claim conciliation
have also been removed.
3. Acas can now step in earlier, their helpline number is
08457 47 47 47 and is open 0800 - 2000 Mon to Fri and 0900 - 1300 on
Sat. Acas' early conciliation service can be accessed by calling the
helpline. Their website is at http://www.acas.org.uk/drr
and the Acas Code of Practice can be accessed at: http://www.acas.org.uk/dgcode2009.
About the Author
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from the BERR-
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-04-04 12:50:44 in Employee Articles