The Government has published for consultation its proposed reforms to the rules that apply to consulting with employees when collective redundancies become necessary. It is hoped that the measures will improve the quality of communication between managers and staff, reduce uncertainty and enable employers to better respond to changes in market conditions.
The proposals include:
- introducing a new, non-statutory Code of Practice to give clearer information on how to conduct good quality consultations;
- reducing the current 90-day minimum period for large-scale redundancies (over 100 staff) to 45 or 30 days; and
- improving the guidance for employers and employees on the support on offer from the Government.
Under the law as it stands at present, a failure to consult can lead to a protective award requiring the employer to pay each affected employee 90 days’ pay. There are no plans to change the level of the penalty payable as the Government’s view is that this is linked to the employer’s attempts to comply, not the length of the consultation period, and as such it is an effective deterrent.
The consultation can be found here.. The closing date for responses is 19 September 2012.