Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has claimed to have saved businesses £120 million in 2006 as 16,000 cases were prevented from ending up in costly employment tribunals.
The independent research from the Institute for Employment Studies shows that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of employees had been considering making an employment tribunal claim before calling the Acas helpline, but of this percentage, almost a third (30 per cent) decided against pursuing a claim as a result of the information provided, meaning 16,000 were averted.
The findings also reveal that the advice additionally prompted almost half of bosses to update or improve existing policies, with 45 per cent reporting that their call had motivated them to implement new policies.
Ed Sweeney, Acas chair (designate) said: “These findings show that talking things through can make a huge difference. Clearly there are savings to be made for both business and the individual. Employment tribunals can be expensive, time-intensive and stressful. As well as using our helpline service and website, we are urging businesses and employees to take a ‘prevention over cure’ approach and stop these types of problem escalating to employment tribunals.”
Other findings showed that male callers were more likely to have been considering making an employment tribunal claim (29 per cent compared to 20 per cent of women), as were callers from the construction industry (28 per cent), and those working in distribution, retail, hotels and restaurants.
Around 233,000 employees called the Acas helpline (08457 47 47 47) last year.