New redundancy consultation requirements: some things stay the same

Although changes to the collective redundancy consultation regime introduced last month have been well publicised, some important things are not changing. This article reminds readers of what hasn’t changed and explores the practical consequences. Employers who do not appreciate the significance of what is staying the same may fall foul of their ongoing legal obligations in collective redundancy situations, particularly in sectors that make frequent use of fixed-term employees.

In February we reported on the publication of draft legislation making changes to the consultation regime for collective redundancies. The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 2013 (the Order) came into force, as expected, on 6 April 2013 and the new regime applies where redundancy dismissal proposals “are made” on or after that date.

By way of reminder, the Order made the following changes:

  • It reduced the consultation period where there are 100 or more redundancies proposed at an establishment from 90 to 45 days.
  • It also reduced, from 90 to 45 days, the minimum period of notice which must be given to the Secretary of State (on form HR1) before the first redundancy dismissals take effect.
  • Finally, it excludes fixed-term contracts which are terminating at the point it was agreed they would terminate from the collective consultation requirements. This means that where contracts are coming to their natural end they will not have to be included in the calculation for assessing whether or not collective redundancy consultation is required.

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