Social Media – Wake Up Call from Acas

The power of social media to rapidly organise large groups of people – as seen in England’s riots and subsequent clean up – presents new challenges for industrial relations as well as public order. A new report from employment relations experts Acas shows that social networking has already directly influenced how some industrial disputes have been conducted. The accessibility and speed of tools such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook mean that workers can be mobilised more quickly than ever. They can also make it easier to collaborate with other campaign or interest groups. The report Social media and its impact on employers and trade unions (PDF) cites the East Lindsey Refinery disputes where much of the organising was done via websites, such as and SMS / ... »

Royal Wedding Bank Holiday: The Leave Issues

With less than a month until the Royal Wedding on Friday 29th April 2011 – which follows the Easter break – employers may find themselves having to juggle extra leave requests. Acas is reminding employers to plan ahead to avoid last-minute leave clashes or short-term absences. Acas National Helpline Manager Stewart Gee said: “As the wedding bank holiday is in the same week as Easter Monday, employers may see an increase in requests for time off. The best way to be as fair and consistent as possible is to have a policy on how to manage time off and leave requests. For many the Royal Wedding is going to be an opportunity to celebrate, and your employees being able to join in may help to boost morale in your workplace.” Holiday guidance: There is no statutory right to bank/public ... »

Demand for Acas Early Conciliation Service Continues to Rise

Latest statistics show Acas received just over a third more referrals for Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) between April and December 2010 than in the whole year from April 2009 to March 2010. Over three quarters of disputes that are appropriately referred for PCC do not go on to become tribunal claims. Disputes almost always affect morale, reduce productivity and ultimately undermine growth for small businesses. To reduce the time and money businesses spend on conflict the Government has recently proposed that all potential tribunal claims are submitted to Acas for early conciliation first. Acas estimates that resolving a claim through its early conciliation service saves a business on average £5,200 when staff time and legal costs are factored in, compared to dealing with a dispute onc... »

Free Conciliation Service Saves Small Businesses £5k in Legal Costs, says Acas

Small businesses are saving an average of £5,000 by using Acas’ free conciliation service to resolve workplace disputes, the employment advisory service has claimed. An Acas survey of more than 1,000 small firms using the Pre-Claim Conciliation (PCC) service between April and December 2009 found that users saved an average of £5,200, compared to the cost of resolving a dispute if an employment tribunal claim is made. The figure includes the cost of legal advice and representation, as well as staff time, but does not include the cost of settlements or tribunal awards. Firms can use the PCC service to tackle grievances, dismissals and disciplinary issues to prevent them from going to employment tribunal. While mediation helps resolve more general employment problems, conciliation is used whe... »

Acas Guidance helps Employers Manage Summer Holidays

Employers can access free advice about staff rights to take time off during the school summer holiday period, following the publication of guidance from Acas. The new content on the Acas website includes advice on employee rights to annual leave and flexible working, and has been published to coincide with the summer holiday period when employers are likely to receive more requests for time off to look after children. The guidance contains answers to common questions such as whether employers can refuse a leave request or whether an employee has the right to take time off if their childminding arrangements fall through. “Many businesses receive an increase in holiday requests over the summer and an employer often has to balance the needs of the business with keeping a healthy and mot... »

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Small Firms Fail to Mediate Workplace Disputes

More than half of small firms are failing to use mediation to help prevent workplace disputes escalating to employment tribunals, according to employment advisory service Acas. In mediation, an impartial expert talks to both sides separately and helps come up with a solution that both accept. According to Acas, mediation is usually quicker than taking legal action, often lasting less than one day, and is almost always less expensive and stressful. “Small businesses often don’t think their problems are suitable for mediation, because they aren’t aware of all the circumstances in which it can be helpful,” said Acas mediation project manager Gill Trevelyan. “Mediation can help resolve workplace disputes, such as bullying and harassment claims, before they escalat... »

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Boost for Dispute Resolution

The Dispute Resolution system gets a much-needed £37 million pound boost. »

A Guide to Discipline and Grievance Issues for Business

A Guide to Discipline and Grievance Issues for Business

When disciplining or dismissing an employee for something they have done, it is vital to follow the proper procedure. Disciplinary procedures are fraught with potential legal trouble for employers; get it wrong and you could find yourself facing an unfair dismissal claim in an employment tribunal. Establishing clear disciplinary procedures in line with the law, and following them to the letter, will not only ensure you steer clear of legal trouble, but will also enable you to sort out many issues without resorting to extreme measures. This article covers all you need to know about how to set up a disciplinary and grievance procedure, including what principles apply, how to set disciplinary rules, and how to go about enforcing them. How do I draw up a disciplinary policy for my business? Th... »