From 6 April 2013 the following changes shall apply to collective consultation provisions:
- where 100 or more employees are affected by a redundancy proposal, the minimum consultation period, before the first redundancy can take affect, will be reduced from 90 to 45 days. Where 20-99 employees are affected by a redundancy proposal, the minimum consultation period, before the first redundancy can take effect, stays at 30 days;
- employees on fixed term contracts “which have reached their agreed determination point” will be excluded from collective redundancy consultation obligations; and
- a new ACAS non statutory code of practice will be introduced to help improve the quality of consultation and to provide further guidance on a range of issues, including the meaning of “establishment”.
Large scale business reorganisations and redundancies will be able to be implemented in a shorter time frame. This can reduce the financial and administrative burden on employers and enable them to achieve their aims more efficiently. However, employers will still need to take good care around the consultation itself. Consultation will still need to be meaningful and conducted with a view to reaching agreement. With a shorter timescale, any breaches may be less flexibly looked at by tribunals.
For more information, help or advice please contact our Employment Team on 0191 211 7777 or email [email protected].