The Government has published draft regulations to implement the reduction of the current 90 days minimum consultation period for very large scale redundancies to 45 days. The changes will take effect from 6 April 2013…
What do the Regulations say?
The draft Regulations implement the Government proposals to:
- remove the 90-day minimum consultation period when 100 or more redundancies are proposed within a 90 day period and replace it with a 45-day minimum period; and
- exempt fixed term contracts which reach their agreed termination date from collective redundancy consultation obligations.
When do the Regulations come into force?
The critical date is the date when you first propose the redundancies. If this date is on or after 6 April 2013, then the new rules will apply. However, if your plans to make redundancies are advanced enough to amount to proposals before 6 April 2013, the current law on consultation periods will apply, even if the dismissals will take place on or after 6 April 2013. Please note also that there will be an equivalent reduction in the 90 day period to notify the Secretary of State (the HR1 form) to 45 days on 6 April 2013.
Whilst this is a welcome development for any employer who is in the unfortunate position of facing large scale redundancies, the collective consultation obligations are still onerous. Failure to comply with the rules still carries the same penalty: a maximum award of 90 days’ uncapped pay per employee. In addition, consultation must begin in ‘good time’ to be meaningful and the 45 day and 30 day periods for collective consultation remain minimum periods. If you are proposing 20 or more redundancies within a 90 day period, you must begin to consult when you first propose to make the redundancies, even if this is more than 30 or 45 days ahead of the planned dismissal dates.
What to know more?
We will be covering the changes to the law on collective redundancy consultation in more detail, along with the many other imminent legislative changes, in our Spring Member Briefings: Employment Law Updates which are being held nationally. Click here for more information.
We will also update you again when the new non-statutory ACAS guidance on this is published.