The Government has announced that the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be capped at either the claimant’s annual salary or the maximum award (currently £74,200) in place at the time,whichever is lower.
It has also issued a consultation paper, Early Conciliation, setting out how the process of making a tribunal claim will operate once the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has become law, which is expected to happen in May. Employees will have to submit an ‘early conciliation’ form to Acas, and a support officer will contact claimants to explain the conciliation process and find out more details aboutthe claim. If the claimant is willing, the case will be passed to an Acas conciliation officer who will then have a month to facilitate a settlement (extendable by two weeks if both parties agree). If the conciliation is unsuccessful, or the parties will not agree to conciliation, Acas will issue a certificate confirming conciliation requirements have been met. Claimants will then be given a unique ‘early conciliation’ number to put on the tribunal claim form. Only claim forms with a number will be accepted.
ACAS is also developing a new draft Code of Practice relating to settlement agreements (previously known as compromise agreements) in preparation for the changes being made once the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has been passed.
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