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Zero hours, pay and early conciliation set to be key workplace issues for 2014, says Acas Chief Exec

Monday 13 January 2014

Acas Chief Executive, Anne Sharp, head of Britain's top employment relations service, highlights her views on the workplace challenges for 2014.

With organisations coming out of the recession, the coming year will continue to hold challenges for workplace relations including tensions around zero hours contracts and pay but opportunities for a greater focus on alternate forms of dispute resolution through a new Acas Early Conciliation service.

Resolving disputes earlier

"This is an exciting time for Acas as it continues to be at the heart of resolving workplace problems in 2014.

"We know from experience that it is always better to resolve disputes as early as possible. From April anyone thinking of making a tribunal claim will need to contact Acas first for the opportunity of support from our experts to resolve the dispute before it becomes a tribunal claim saving the time, cost and stress of going to a tribunal."

Zero hours contracts

"If used responsibly by employers, zero hours contracts can offer valuable flexibility for both them and employees. But we know from calls to the Acas Helpline that there's a lot of uncertainty on both sides around these contracts which leads to confusion.

"Employee callers in particular identified strong concerns about their terms being changed at short notice. That's why we welcome the Government's announcement of a consultation on zero hours contracts which will look at improving guidance for both employers and employees on their use."


"While the economy is showing signs of recovery, pay may well loom large on the employment relations agenda in 2014 as workers look to catch up for past pay restraint."

Good employment relations leads to business success

"Latest research shows that businesses that had established good relations with their workers were less likely to have been damaged by the recession.

"Line managers and supervisors are key to developing positive and successful relationships in the workplace. If employers get their workplace relations right then they are likely to have happier, more motivated staff and a more successful business.

"Acas is here to help people get it right through our guidance, helpline and training as well as offering our conciliation services when problems arise."

Notes for editors

  1. In 2013 Acas launched new guidance for employers and employers on zero hours contracts
  2. For further information about early conciliation visit
  3. Latest workplace study (WERS) published in November has found that businesses that had established good relationships with their workers were less likely to have been damaged by the recession - Good work relations help businesses through difficult times.
  4. For the latest employment law updates and changes visit
  5. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  6. The Acas Helpline - 08457 47 47 47 - is available from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names.
  7. For media enquires please contact Shumon Rahman/Clare Carter on 0207 210 3688, Lou Owen on 020 7210 3920 or Sophia Said on 0207 210 3680. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.