It is the Government’s opinion that the current rules on collective redundancy are slowing businesses’ ability to restructure in the current economic climate and are more restrictive than the rules in other EU countries.  

In order to improve the quality of consultation and improve employers’ ability to respond to market conditions, the Government is proposing to shorten the 90 day consultation period for collective redundancies to either 30 or 45 days and issue a new non-statutory code of practice.  

A consultation has recently been issued by the Government on these proposals.  

The Government argues that the current minimum consultation periods under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, of 30 days where 20 to 99 redundancies are proposed and 90 days where 100 or more redundancies are proposed, are not required by the EU Collective Redundancies Directive and so amount to ‘gold-plating’. In addition, the Government has proposed that a shorter consultation period will reduce uncertainty for employees. The consultation is due to close on 19 September 2012 with changes being introduced in Spring 2013 if the consultation supports such changes.  

An amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has been published by the Government. The provision inserts a new s.111A into the Employment Rights Act