Majority of employers pay Acas settlements “without enforcement”

Acas settlements

More than nine Acas-mediated settlements in 10 were paid in full without needing to resort to enforcement procedures, new research has revealed.

Although the research, Payment of Acas conciliated settlements, covers the period before the introduction of early conciliation (January to March 2014), the figures support claims that employers are far more likely to pay out when Acas is involved in negotiating a settlement. In comparison, only 53% of claims were granted by employment tribunals without enforcement.

Median settlements, Jan-Mar 2014

  • £5,500 for sex discrimination and equal pay.
  • £4,360 for unfair dismissal.
  • £4,000 for disability.
  • £1,590 for breach of contract.
  • £830 for wages claims.
  • £3,000 for other claims.

Source: Acas

The research was commissioned after recent concern surrounding the proportion of claimants not receiving their payouts in full, and debate around how early conciliation might affect the employment tribunal process.

From May 2014, early conciliation became compulsory for any employee looking to bring a tribunal claim. The early conciliation service currently deals with around 1,600 cases per week, and saw almost 40,000 cases in the first six months of operation.

Acas chair Sir Brendan Barber said: “It shows the crucial value of Acas’ impartial conciliation services in securing agreed settlements to disputes. But the low compliance rate with tribunal awards remains a major concern.”

The study found that the majority of Acas settlements were related to unfair dismissal (61%), followed by wages claims (13%), breach of contract (7%), disability (6%) and sex discrimination/equal pay (5%).

The average amount paid was £3,000, although 38% of claimants agreed non-monetary terms as part of their settlements.

The smallest number of claims originated from the not-for-profit (5%) and public (14%) sectors, with the highest number by a large margin coming from the private sector (80%).

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