Changes to the redundancy consultation process

Following a call for evidence, the government has launched a consultation on reducing the length of the consultation process for large scale redundancies.

Currently, an employer is obliged to consult with unions or representatives of the affected employees for 30 days if they plan to make between 20 and 99 members of staff redundant. This increases to 90 days when 100 or more employees are involved.

The proposals suggest halving the 90-day period or bringing in a single 30-day consultation.

According to Employment Relations Minister Norman Lamb, such a move will improve the quality of consultations.

“The call for evidence showed that the current arrangements are not fit for purpose for the modern labour market … at present fear and uncertainty can hang over a workforce for three months, sometimes resulting in some of the best employees choosing to leave, even if they would not have ultimately been made redundant.”

Despite this proposed reduction, the Protective Award paid to each member of staff impacted by a failure to consult will remain at a maximum of 90 days.

The government is also considering introducing a non-statutory Code of Practice, which will help ensure “that consultation is conducted in the right spirit and considers the correct issues”. This will cover when the process should start and conclude, who should be consulted, what the consultation should cover and how it should be conducted.

Any interested parties have until 19th September 2012 to comment on the proposals.

At Palmers Solicitors, we can advise on any aspect of employment law, including providing guidance throughout the whole redundancy process. For more information and advice, please contact Lara Murray at lmurray@palmerslaw.co.uk.