Unfortunately, employers might have to deal with a redundancy at one point. When you have to action a redundancy, you must follow the correct legal procedure.
Failing this, you could be accused of unfair dismissal. Which can be bad for your business reputation, and result in costly financial penalties.
From the decision of making job cuts to ending employment contracts, the whole process has several rules you need to comply with before making the final decision.
Read how a redundancy consultation period can help provide employees with clarity, support, and possible alternative placements before leaving the business forever.
What is the redundancy consultation period?
The redundancy consultation period is used when you discuss the risk of redundancy with affected employees.
Consultation periods during redundancy involves discussing why these staff members are at risk. In the consultation meeting, you should discuss:
- Any changes needed, what you plan to do, and why.
- Ways to avoid redundancies or action fewer of them.
- Skills and experiences needed for the future.
- The process of the redundancy selection.
- Any issues or concerns employees might have.
- Applying support and leave for affected employees.
- Alternative methods to redundancies, like restructuring and retraining.
There are several rules to follow when deciding on redundancies. And they differ by whether it’s an individual or collective redundancy.
Consultation period for individual redundancy
The redundancy consultation period for one person is known as an individual redundancy consultation.
This is the process that should be followed when making between one and 19 people redundant.
Whether following the redundancy process of one employee or 19, you should meet with each affected employee in private. There should be multiple meetings, especially if the employee has over two years’ service.
Consultation period for collective redundancy
If you are making 20 or more redundancies, you’re required to hold a collective redundancy consultation period. These periods are longer, and should take place between you and an employer’s representative, like a trade union or elected employee rep.
Read out guide for more information on collective redundancy.
How long is a redundancy consultation period?
There’s no minimum consultation period for one redundancy.
You need to allow a 30-day consultation period when making between 20 and 99 redundancies.
The minimum requirement is 45 days before dismissal for 100+ redundancies.
For redundancies of 20 or more people, you will need to notify the Redundancy Payments Service before starting any consultations.
UK redundancy law consultation period
Consultation is a legal requirement when making redundancies. The redundancy will be classed as unfair if you don’t follow the proper process. And you could receive unfair dismissal claims.
Legislation for redundancy consultation periods fall under the Employment Rights Act (ERA). Here, the law states there are only four lawful reasons for making redundancies:
- The business ceased running.
- The business location changed.
- A specific job role is no longer needed.
You need to notify the Redundancy Payment Service (RPS) between 30 or 45 days before issuing any redundancy notice. And it must be before the first dismissal takes place.
Remember you can’t make someone redundant based on age, sexual orientation, religion, race, or any other protected characteristic. This falls as discrimination under the Equality at Work Act.
Working through redundancy consultation periods
Some employees might ask, ‘do I have to work during redundancy consultation period?’ The answer is yes, they do unless annual leave is booked for that time.
You can ask the employee if they would rather work from home during that time. But there’s no legal obligation to allow this.
Can a redundancy consultation period be extended?
Extending a redundancy consultation period can be done. There is no upper limit to extending the period, so long as the employees are aware.
Consultation period for voluntary redundancy
Employees who volunteer for redundancy should still be offered a consultation period. They still have the same legal rights as those who don’t volunteer.
During these meetings, you could speak about alternative jobs that might be more suitable than taking volunteer redundancy.
Get expert advice on redundancy with Peninsula
You must consult employees who are at risk of redundancies before taking any action.
If your staff feel that they have been misinformed or not told at all, they could raise a claim of unfair dismissal to tribunal courts. And the legal costs and business disruptions might cause severe impacts to your business brand-name and bottom-line.
Peninsula offers hands-on redundancy advice for UK employers in all types of business. Our expert HR consultants have experience in dealing with all kinds of redundancies, dismissals, and terminations situations.
Get expert advice on the correct redundancy process today. Give us a call on 0800 028 2420.