There are strict time limits for making a claim to an employment tribunal.
If you're thinking about making a claim, the first step is to notify Acas. You should do this within your time limit. You have either:
- 3 months minus 1 day – for most claims
- 6 months minus 1 day – for a few claims
You have 6 months minus 1 day for:
- statutory redundancy pay claims
- equal pay claims
- unfair dismissal claims related to strike action
- certain claims made against a trade union
- certain claims if you're a member of the armed forces
Going through grievance, disciplinary or appeal procedures does not change your time limit. If those procedures take a long time, you still need to notify Acas before your time limit runs out.
When your time limit starts
In most cases, your time limit starts from the date the problem at work happened.
- unfair dismissal – the time limit starts from the 'effective date of termination'. In almost all cases, this means either the last day of your notice period, or the date you were dismissed if your employer did not give you notice
- pay and wages – the time limit starts from the date you were not paid correctly
- discrimination – the time limit starts from the date of the last act of discrimination you're including in your claim
Working out time limits can be complex, especially if:
- your problem at work covers more than one type of claim, for example both unfair dismissal and discrimination
- there have been multiple incidents or the problem is still happening
For help with understanding how time limits work, or to talk through your options, contact the Acas helpline.
If you need to work out your exact time limit, you might need to get legal advice.
If your time limit has passed
If your time limit has passed, you can still make a claim to an employment tribunal. It's up to the judge to decide whether they will accept your claim. However, in most cases time limits are strictly enforced.
To find out more about your options, contact the Acas helpline.
How early conciliation can pause your time limit
When you notify Acas that you're thinking about making a claim to an employment tribunal, we will offer you early conciliation. This is when a conciliator speaks with you and your employer separately to help you come to an agreement.
If you try early conciliation, your time limit is paused for up to 6 weeks while conciliation takes place.