Who are Acas?
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is an independent public body funded by the government. The overarching aim of Acas is to improve the working life within companies. Acas improves company working by creating better employment relations, informally solving workplace disputes, and improving overall efficiency.
Additionally, Acas offers free impartial advice to employees and employers on their workplace rights, rules and best practice alongside limited training to help employers resolve disputes.
If you are involved in a workplace dispute; you must inform Acas before you make a claim to the employment tribunal.
What is the Acas code of practice?
The Acas code of practice is the minimum standard of fairness that workplaces must meet. The codes of practice outline the steps employers should take when dealing with a work-related procedure. However, when a company fails to meet these minimum requirements, a workplace dispute can arise and have legal weight in the employment tribunal.
The Acas code of practice outlines the minimum standard of fairness in five areas, which are:
Acas code of practice:
- Disciplinary and grievance procedure. This code of practice guides employees and employers regarding resolving discipline and grievance conflicts in the workplace.
- Disclosure of information to trade unions. This code of practice guides employers on which information they may have to disclose to trade unions. This code of practice protects trade unions from unfair treatment, which may prevent them from securing better working conditions for their members.
- Time-off for trade union duties and activities. The third code of practice aims to improve relationships between employers and trade unions by providing advice on how to agree to paid and unpaid time off for trade union representatives and members who wish to fulfil duties, conduct training, or engage in union activities.
- Settlement agreements. This code of practice deals with settlement agreements, which companies can use to resolve any serious complaints, disciplinary issues and grievances in the workplace.
- Handling reasonable manner requests to work flexibly. This section offers guidance to employers and employees on how to manage flexible working requests.