Redundancy consultation period to be halved
The Government announced this week that redundancy consultation periods for large-scale redundancies will be reduced from 90 days to 45 days next year.
Currently, where employers are proposing to make over 99 roles redundant they must consult for at least 90 days before anyone can be let go. Smaller-scale redundancies affecting between 20 and 99 staff are subject to a shorter minimum period of 30 days for collective consultation - this will not change. This is the latest in a number of changes to employment law that the Coalition is pushing through next year, all of which are intended to reduce what employers perceive to be a substantial burden of red-tape and compliance.
Commenting on this announcement, asb law's Head of Employment Greg Burgess said: "This is one of the areas of employment law which is long overdue an overhaul. In my experience, 90-day consultation periods are counter-productive - their intention is to allow a long and comprehensive dialogue between employers and their staff (and unions). However, in the vast majority of mass redundancy programmes we get involved in, both the employer and the employees want to know where they stand, and do not want to delay what they perceive to be an inevitable outcome. In the vast majority of cases, 45 days gives employers more than enough time to consult staff (and their Unions), and to avoid any bad feeling that uncertainty and prolonged delays can cause."
Noting the reaction from the Shadow Cabinet and trade unions, Burgess continued: "To say, as TUC Brendan Barber did in response to the announcement, that this represents 'an attack on people's rights at work' is typically inflammatory language, which sadly lacks credibility. Of course employers should engage in full and meaningful consultation with their staff whose jobs are at risk, but workers' rights will remain more than adequately protected despite this change."
If you have any concerns regarding redundancy consultation, please do contact Gregory Burgess
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Published: 19 Dec 2012