A service aimed at resolving workplace disputes has benefited the economy by around £19 million, according to a new study.
The conciliation service Acas said its early involvement under a scheme launched in 2009 had dealt with 20,000 cases, most of which were resolved without having to go to a tribunal.
The so-called Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC) had saved employers and workers the cost and stress of trying to resolve a dispute at an employment tribunal, said Acas.
Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber said: "This study demonstrates the economic benefits of dealing with workplace disputes at the earliest opportunity.
"We know from previous independent research that PCC saves employers on average £3,200 in management time and legal costs compared to dealing with an employment tribunal case."
From today, anyone thinking of making an employment tribunal claim will have to notify Acas first under an initiative called Early Conciliation.
Employment relations minister Jenny Willott said: "Early Conciliation is good news for employees and employers.
"It will help them resolve their workplace disputes, avoiding the stress, time delays and excessive costs all too often associated with tribunals.
"Under our new free scheme anyone considering lodging a claim with an employment tribunal will now contact Acas before they submit their claim.
"If both parties agree, Acas will attempt to resolve the dispute for free to see if a tribunal can be avoided."