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Collective Redundancies Consultation

6th July, 2012

Last month the Government commenced a consultation regarding proposed changes to the statutory minimum collective redundancies consultation periods.  The consultation will close on 19 September 2012 with the Government hoping to introduce the changes in Spring 2013.

According to Norman Lamb (Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs):  “The current rules do not fit the current economic climate. They are driving bad consultation and slowing businesses’ ability to restructure and they are much more restrictive than the rules in many other EU member states. This has a negative impact on both employers and employees and is threatening the UK’s competitiveness.”

Currently, when employers propose to dismiss as redundant (widely defined to include dismissals “not connected with the individual worker concerned”) more than 100 employees, they must follow a minimum period of 90 days collective consultation.  A consultation period of at least 30 days is required for proposed redundancies of between 20 and 99 employees.

The Government consultation proposes to reduce the 90 days minimum period for large scale redundancies of 100 or more employees to either: a 30 day minimum period for all collective redundancies; or a 45 day minimum period for planned redundancies of 100 or more employees.

The aim of such a change is to allow employers to restructure more quickly and save costs; and to give employees greater certainty.

There is also a proposal for a new, non-statutory, Code of Practice which would address a number of key issues affecting redundancy consultations e.g. who should be consulted, what should be discussed and when consultation can be considered to be complete.

There are complex rules governing collective consultation obligations, beyond the scope of this summary update article.

If you have any queries regarding handling redundancies, please contact Claire Brook in the Employment team on 01244 405575 or via email on [email protected].

 

 

 

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