HR/Employment law tends to only get updated twice a year (April and October), most of which amend caveats which have little impact on 95% of businesses – however…. this time we have an interesting amendment to the redundancy consultation guidelines!

Previously 0-19 redundancies meant that no collective consultation had to take place (although one-2-one consultations were still required. 20-99 redundancies required a 30 day consultation, and 100+ required a 90 day consultation before the first dismissal could take place.

The later element is the one we see a significant change to. This now plays out as follows:

  • The 90-day consultation period where 100 or more employees are being dismissed as redundant is to be halved to 45 days.
  • The government believes that the existing 90-day minimum period has the potential to cause unnecessary delays to company restructurings as consultations are usually completed well within such a time frame.

So is this a good or bad thing? Well it depends on which side of the fence you are sitting – for employers it’s a very good thing. It essentially means that consultations can be concluded in half the time, reducing the time of uncertainty in the business (and also reducing the length of time they are paying additional salaries they can ill afford). However for the same reason this is not so good for employees. Those that are certain to be made redundant will now effectively lose 45 days pay before they are made redundant – which can also be seen as valuable time to seek alternative employment.

From a HR perspective I believe it is a positive step, as often consultations are stretched to the 90 days for the sake of it, and this will force matters to be concluded in a timely manner. And allow the business to move forward in its restructured form!!!

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