The redundancy consultation period explained


target with magnifying glassFor any employer, redundancy is usually a last resort. When you have reached the decision that redundancy is the only way forwards, it’s vital to undergo an employee consultation period before taking any action. This is necessary by law in some instances, but also allows your employees the respect and the time they deserve to fight for their roles – as well as meaning you are more likely to find the right people to regrettably move on. This brief look at the redundancy consultation period allows a quick refresher for everything you need to know as an employer…

Why should I consult my employees?

If you do not consult your employees before taking action, any redundancies you make may be considered unfair and your employees could take legal action. Aside from being extremely costly during a time when your organisation is looking to streamline its activities, being taken to an employment tribunal can reflect poorly on the company. You are not legally required to follow set rules when letting fewer than 20 employees go, but if more than 20 employees will be affected by redundancies then you must follow collective consultation rules.

What is collective consultation?

When making 20 or more employees redundant at one time, by law you must prepare a collective consultation. During this, you will consult a trade union rep or an elected employee rep about the proposed redundancies, the reason such action is necessary and measures by which you will determine who will stay and who will go. As well as this, you may also discuss ways in which redundancy could be avoided, or how you plan to limit the effects for employees involved, for example, by offering outplacement services.

How long is the period of consultation?

While there is no time limit for how long the period of consultation should be, if you are making between 20 and 99 people redundant then the consultation must start at least 30 days before anyone is dismissed. If you are making 100 or more redundancies, the consultation must start at least 45 days prior to any dismissals. During this time, your employees could receive the help they need from an outplacement provider such as Renovo to determine which direction they should head in and what they must do to find further employment.

Before a consultation starts, you are required to notify the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which you can do by filling out form HR1. Once the consultation period has begun, you must give any affected staff their termination notice that states the agreed leaving date. If you do not send the notification form at the start of the consultation, you could receive a fine of up to £5,000 and even a criminal record. Additionally, delaying may also limit the amount of time your staff have with their outplacement consultants and the period during which they can find future employment, which may make them more likely to take legal action against you.

Redundancy is difficult for all parties involved; for employers it is especially vital that the necessary steps are taken to avoid any unpleasant repercussions down the line. It is understandable that you would want to do all that you can to help your employees during this difficult time, and you can do so by ensuring that you have an excellent outplacement service provider on hand the moment you inform them of their redundancies. If you would like further information on how Renovo can help, please get in touch today.

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