Under section 188 of Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA), where an employer proposes to make large scale redundancies of 20 or more employees within a period of 90 days or less, it must consult on its proposal with representatives of the affected employees and also notify BIS. In May 2011, the Government announced that as part of its review of employment law it would review collective redundancy consultation periods. The Government is particularly keen to review the 90-day period on the basis that it is too long and hinders employers’ ability to restructure their businesses.
The Government plans to explore the consequences of reducing the 90-day period to 60, 45 or even 30 days. Any evidence gathered will be used to formulate policy proposals that will be put forward for formal public consultation in 2012. The Government is keen to establish the impact of the collective redundancy rules on business confidence and the flexibility to respond effectively and appropriately to market opportunity and challenges.
In particular the Government is keen to understand the following:
- what factors make it easier or more difficult to reach agreement and conclude a consultation;
- the advantages and disadvantages of a statutory 90-day minimum time period before dismissals can take effect;
- what effect minimum consultation periods have on redundancies which have a significant impact on a particular region or sector. It may be appropriate to have a shorter or longer consultation process, so the Government is calling for evidence on the advantages and disadvantages of the 90-day period in this particular context;
- issues which employers might have on how TUPE and the collective consultation rules fit together.
The closing date for answers is 31 January 2012. If the balance of evidence calls for possible changes to TUPE 2006, there will be a formal consultation on any proposed changes in 2012.