ACAS has just published its 2016/17 report and the ACAS annual report shows only a marginal increase in early conciliation notifications of 0.1% compared with the previous year.
The 2016/17 ACAS Annual Report Findings
The findings of the ACAS annual report were:-
- There was a 0.1% increase in the number of early conciliation notifications compared with 2015/16
- 17,500 of the 92,251 notifications proceeded to the Employment Tribunal, of which approximately 12,000 were resolved through negotiations, thereby avoiding a hearing. The remaining 5,500 went to a final hearing
- In terms of types of claim, unfair dismissal made up 33% of the notifications, followed by Wages Act (28%), Breach of Contract (14% ), Working Time (Annual Leave) (12%), Disability Discrimination (11%), Sex Discrimination (6%), Race Discrimination (5%), Redundancy Pay (4%), Public Interest Disclosure (3%), and Maternity Detriment (3%)
- Visits to the ACAS website have doubled since 2013, and almost 12 million visited the website during 2016/17
- 887,000 calls were answered by ACAS on its helpline, with 1.4 million questions asked by over 500,000 people on the automated helpline
Commenting upon the findings of the ACAS annual report, Sir Brendan Barber, the ACAS Chair stated: “Demand for Acas’ services continues to be strong. The past year has seen us deal with a large number of collective disputes such as London Underground, UK airports baggage handlers and British Airways cabin crew. Our annual report shows how our diverse range of services are continually adapting to meet the new and changing demands of the modern day workplace. This is especially important now as good workplace practice can help navigate the change that some organisations may have to go through due to Brexit. Good workplace relations and practice can also help to improve productivity in the workplace, reaping huge benefits to businesses, employers, employees and the economy. Latest independent research confirms that for every £1 Acas spends, there is a £13 benefit to the economy.“
ACAS Contribution To The Taylor Review
In its contribution to the Taylor Review, ACAS stated that those in self-employed or zero hours contracts were confused about their rights. For example:-
- Workers were being told that they had to become self-employed to enable the company to avoid paying maternity pay, sick pay, holiday pay, and other benefits that an employee would normally have
- There was uncertainty about pay in relation to being on call and for travel
- Work ceased or reduced significantly when workers became ill or pregnant
- Workers were being left uncertain as to whether they had been taken off the rota or dismissed following a falling out with the company
ACAS Chair, Sir Brendan Barber, stated: “Our helpline analysis revealed that many callers were in a zero-hours, agency or self-employed arrangement out of necessity, rather than by choice, with some people feeling taken advantage of and unfairly excluded from employment rights. Many people have also called us for advice on how to challenge their employment status following recent high-profile tribunal decisions that certain individuals should be defined as workers and not as self-employed. These types of working arrangements can offer flexibility to individuals and employers, but it is clear that there can be a lot of confusion around employment rights and feelings of insecurity within these non-traditional types of working“.