Acas Code for Grievance & Disciplinary Procedures

New ACAS Code for Grievance & Disciplinary Procedures

A revised ACAS Code of Practice (C of P) for disciplinary and grievance procedures took effect from 6th April 2009 replacing the Statutory Grievance Procedure (SGP) and Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedures (SDDP). Transitional arrangements determine which regime applies where a disciplinary or grievance matter overlaps the 6th April 2009. Identifying which procedure applies is essential as each has different requirements and penalties for non-compliance.

Key Differences between the Statutory Procedures and the new ACAS Code

  • SGP: 28 days wait from sending a written grievance before an Employment Tribunal (ET) has jurisdiction to consider the complaint
  • C of P: No restriction on ET jurisdiction due to the Code
  • SDDP: dismissal without completing the SDDP is automatically unfair
  • C of P: No automatic unfair dismissal for failure to comply but ET must consider the Code when deciding liability
  • SGP & SDDP: Mandatory increase or reduction of awards by minimum 10% up to 50% against party responsible for non-completion of procedure
  • C of P: ET may adjust an award by up to 25% for unreasonable failure to comply with the Code
  • SGP: The normal ET time limits (normally 3 months from date of the matter complained of) is extended by 3 months by written grievance
  • SDDP: Where a disciplinary procedure is continuing at the normal 3 month unfair dismissal ET deadline it is extended by 3 months
  • C of P: There are no extensions to the normal ET time limits

Transitional Arrangements – Disciplinary & Dismissal

The SDDP continues to apply if before 6th April the employer:

  • dismissed the employee, or
  • complied with Step 1 SDDP (sent the employee a written statement of grounds for possible action), or
  • complied with Step 2 SDDP (disciplinary hearing)

The SGP continues to apply to action forming the basis of an employee complaint:

  • that is wholly before 6th April, or
  • starting before and continuing after 6th April, if a step 1 grievance letter is sent or an ET claim lodged by 4th July 2009
  • or if a step 1 grievance letter is sent or an ET claim lodged by 4th October 2009 in Equal Pay or redundancy payment claims

The new ACAS Code of Practice and accompanying Guidance is available at:

See the regional training programme for grievance and disciplinary procedures training courses:
or contact your regional officer to arrange a briefing.