The law sets out time limits for the time you have to lodge a claim at an Employment Tribunal. These are referred to as the “normal” time limits, however they are subject to certain extensions other than referred to below.
However, BEFORE you can issue an Employment Tribunal claim you are obligated to instigate ACAS Early Conciliation. See the ACAS Section.
These primary time limits are as follows:
Time Limit – Unfair Dismissal
3 months less one day from the effective date of termination (referred to as the “EDT”).
Time Limit – Redundancy Payment
6 months starting with the relevant date
Time Limit – Discrimination
3 months from the act complained of
Time Limit – Equal Pay
6 months from the termination date
Time Limit – Unlawful Deductions from wages
3 months from date of last deduction
Time Limit – Contract Claims
3 months from the termination date
Time Limit – Holiday Pay
3 months from when the payment was due
Very limited circumstances exist for extending these time limits, namely if it was not reasonably practicable to comply in time or if it is just and equitable to extend time, depending on which claim is being dealt with. Extensions of time are very difficult to achieve and a claim should always, if possible, be put in on time to avoid any problems.
As far as unfair dismissal (the most common claim) is concerned, the three month period starts to run from the “effective date of termination” which is usually the last working day. If an employee receives payment in lieu of notice, the three month period runs from the day of dismissal. If an employee is dismissed for gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal (i.e. on the spot) the three month period runs from that day. If an employee is dismissed with notice (as opposed to payment in lieu) the three month limit runs from when the notice period expires.
Note: The time limit is 3 months LESS one day, so if dismissed on 12th July, the last day for issuing a claim is on 11th October NOT 12th October.
ACAS Early Conciliation – extension of the “normal” time limits for submitting claims
The “normal” time limits stated above stop for as long as ACAS Early Conciliation is in progress from the point you complete and submit the online ACAS form until the process stops by ACAS issuing an ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate. This period when the limitation time clock stops is effectively added on to the normal 3 month time period thereby extending it. We have produced a tool to help Claimants calculate the primary Tribunal time limit deadline by which any Tribunal claim must be issued. You need to enter the termination date; the date ACAS Early Conciliation was requested and the date ACAS issued the Early Conciliation Certificate. We always advise, given the complexity of the time calculation, that you always take legal advice about the time limit and do not leave it until the last minute to issue a claim. The below calculation is offered as a guideline only.
Time Limits Calculator