The highly unpopular three-step statutory grievance and disciplinary procedures have officially been scrapped today.
Conciliation service Acas has introduced a new code of practice, which will govern all dispute proceedings, in a bid to allow employers more flexiblity in trying to resolve disputes earlier and prevent them going to court.
Emma Whiting, partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, said: “Today’s repeal of the much-maligned statutory dispute resolution procedures will no doubt be welcomed by employers of all sizes. With them will disappear provisions designed to improve the efficacy of internal workplace dispute resolution and reduce tribunal disputes which have fallen well short of their billing.”
The latest employment tribunal statistics, released last month, showed that claims had risen 40% year-on-year, with HR directors putting much of the blame on too many “frivolous” claims reaching court. Employers hope the new code of practice will deter both employers and employees from resolving issues at tribunal.
However, Acas chairman Ed Sweeney has previously said the new code would not be a ‘cure all’ to escalating claims.
Whiting added: “It will be interesting to see whether the new code has the desired impact that everyone hopes and expects it to.”
Acas will receive up to £37m over the next three years from the government to enhance its conciliation helpline and make sure the code is introduced smoothly.