25 Sep 2020
Redundancies are often an inevitable part of any business, no matter how difficult a process it is for all involved.
As an employer, you need to be sure the redundancy process is fair to your employees. If you don’t follow a fair process, employees can claim against you in an employment tribunal.
There are clear stages you should go through when planning to make an employee redundant. This includes a consultation period. Let’s outline what this process is and what you need to be aware of as an employer.
What is a redundancy consultation period?
It’s where you consult with employee(s) in a series of meetings, explaining the reasons for their possible redundancy.
The consultation process lets you propose any alternatives to redundancy. This allows you to avoid redundancies while not compromising the business. These can include:
- Short-time working.
- Job sharing options.
What is a fair process?
As an employer, you must ensure the process is fair and compliant with UK employment law. Your contract or staff handbook usually outlines the process and set rules.
To be a fair process, it must explain:
- How long the redundancy process will be.
- What meetings the employee can attend and when.
- The process for appeal.
- How you’ll work out redundancy payments.
- The termination notices.
An unfair process will ignore these and likely come about if you:
- Don’t have a process.
- Don’t meet the individual(s).
- Only meet the employee to tell them you’re making them redundant.
- The process doesn’t contain enough information.
- The process isn’t followed.
What is discussed in the consultation?
There are a number of things an employee will probably want to discuss when given redundancy notices. This is your chance to outline some rationales in the process set out beforehand. These are:
- Why you need to make a redundancy.
- Why you’re considering them for redundancy.
- What other jobs are available for them, if any.
- Questions about what happens next.
The process allows the employee to try and explain why they believe they shouldn’t face redundancy, ensure following a fair procedure or if you have chosen them unfairly.
How long is the redundancy consultation period?
There are statutory periods of consultation, depending on the number of employees being made redundant.
The minimum consultation period for 1 redundancy
There is no minimum redundancy consultation period for 1 person, but employment law entitles them to at least one meeting.
Failing to provide them with an individual redundancy consultation period runs the risk of an unfair dismissal claim.
The redundancy consultation period for less than 20 employees
Similar to individual consultation, here is also no minimum period of consultation here.
Again, meeting the employees individually for consultation over their redundancy is advised to avoid the risk of any unfair dismissal claims.
The collective redundancy consultation period
In situations where 20-99 redundancies will occur at one establishment within 90 days or fewer, you’re required to implement a collective redundancy consultation period. You must begin consultation at least 30 days before giving the first redundancy notice.
You must inform and consult with representatives of the affected employees. This could be:
- Elected employee representatives.
- A trade union.
You usually arrange consultation meetings with the representatives once a message has gone out to all affected employees making the initial notification of the redundancy exercise. It’s also common to hold a group meeting to make this initial notification and then follow up with a letter to your staff setting out the consultation process.
100 or more redundancies within 90 days in 1 workplace
You must begin consultation at least 45 days before giving the first redundancy notice.
Advice for UK redundancy law consultation periods
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