Collective Redundancy Consultation – What are the Rules?
Where an employer is proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant, a specific procedure known as a Collective Redundancy Consultation must be followed. For more information on what is required under this type of consultation please read on.
What is Collective Redundancy Consultation?
An employer has a duty to follow the collective redundancy consultation procedure when they are proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment within a period or 90 days or less.
It is important to remember that if the total number of staff who are proposed to be dismissed by redundancy is over 20, then the collective consultation procedure must be followed. This procedure must be followed even if the total number of staff is made up of employees taking voluntary redundancy and employees at risk of compulsory redundancy. The important factor which triggers collective consultation is how many employees are proposed to be made redundant, by whatever method.
The information in this blog is relevant where there are 20 or more proposed redundancies. If you are at risk of redundancy but less than 20 employees are involved, a different procedure can be followed. In those circumstances, please visit our page on redundancies: https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/resignation-dismissal-and-redundancy/redundancy/
Proposing to Dismiss
We often get asked by clients at what stage in the decision-making process should an employer engage in collective consultation. Consultation does not have to commence as soon the employer starts thinking about redundancies, but rather when the employer has a fixed, clear, but provisional intention to make redundancies. It is important that their intention is provisional as consultation cannot be meaningful if the employer had already decided which employees are to be made redundant.
Duty to Consult
If an employer is proposing to make between 20 – 99 employees redundant then the minimum consultation period is 30 days before the date of first dismissal. If the employer is proposing to make 100 or more employees redundant then, this consultation period is extended to 45 days before the date of the first dismissal.
It is important that employers ensure they engage in meaningful consultation with their employees. The objective of the consultation is for a dialogue to take place between the employer and employee about the redundancy situation and to look at ways in which any redundancies may be avoided or mitigated.
The employer should provide the elected representative (see below) with sufficient information about the proposed redundancies and allow them adequate time to discuss the information with the employees and then respond.
What is ‘One Establishment’?
Generally, an establishment is defined as the unit which the Employees are designated to work at and carry out their duties.
It does not have to be the whole organisation, and historically, one office within the whole organisation could usually be defined as one establishment. However, in light of the current global pandemic and changes in working structures, it is likely to become more difficult to define one establishment in that way because of the increase in people working from home.
Instead employers should look at whether there is an established grouping of employees. For example, set departments within the organisation (i.e. the finance department). Alternatively, in the absence of a set department can employees be grouped together because of their shared duties or interchangeable roles.
The definition of one establishment is a complex legal matter which can be interpreted very broadly and should always be looked at on the specific circumstances of each organisation.
In a Collective Consultation situation, wherever possible, there should be an elected representative whose role is it to engage in the consultation process on behalf of employees who are at risk.
Where the employees are part of a Trade Union, the representative will often be a member of their Union. If there is no trade union, the employees may themselves elect an Employee Representative.
If none of these options are available, an employer must hold individual consultation with each of the proposed Employees at risk. This is an important requirement that should not be overlooked, as failure to consult properly may result in an Unfair Dismissal Claim.
If you have been elected as the Employee Representative or have an individual appointment and want assistance on what type of questions should be asked, please visit our blog: https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/are-you-being-made-redundant-five-questions-to-ask/
How can Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Help You?
If you would like further guidance and assistance on the Collective Redundancy Consultation process please do not hesitate to contact us on 01522 440512 for a free, no obligation telephone consultation. For more information on the full range of employment law issues Lincs Law Employment Solicitors can assist you with, please visit our main webpage at https://www.lincslaw.co.uk
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor