ACAS early conciliation became a mandatory precursor to bringing an Employment Tribunal claim in May 2014.

Since that time, potential claimants have been required to contact ACAS to commence early conciliation, and talks by telephone could last for up to one month with co-operation from the responding party.   The purpose of early conciliation was to resolve potential claims before they reached the Employment Tribunal.

It was possible for an ACAS officer to extend the duration of the conciliation talks by a further two weeks if the parties agreed to this.

With effect from yesterday (1 December 2020) early conciliation talks can take place over the telephone for up to 6 weeks as standard.  This means that the convoluted process of agreeing an extension is no longer required.

Our recent experience with ACAS is that they are very busy and it can take several days to speak to an officer.  We are also aware that some respondents are currently not being contacted until late in the conciliation period, and in some cases within the last few days before the month deadline.  Extending the conciliation deadline in all cases goes some way to address these delays.

If you have any queries relating to the ACAS early conciliation process or about any employment law required, please contact Alexandria Evans on 01904 561 444 or by email at

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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