The new regulations changing the length of the statutory period of collective redundancy consultation where 100 or more redundancies at one establishment are proposed, from 90 to 45 days, take effect on 6 April. (The regulations were still in draft form at the time of writing this newsletter, but there has been no indication that they are not going ahead). The amendments apply to proposals to dismiss which are made on or after 6 April 2013. In other words, dismissals taking place on or after 6 April will be subject to the new limits only if the redundancies are also proposed after 6 April.
The consultation period for 20 or more (but fewer than 100) employees remains at 30 days, as does the 90 day period for which a protective award can be made if consultation is not carried out properly. The regulations also confirm that the consultation rules will not apply to employment under a fixed term contract, except where the fixed term employee is being dismissed as redundant before the expiry of the fixed term contract or the completion of the specific task for which they are employed.
A non-statutory ACAS Code of Practice and revised guidance was also promised - to clarify in particular when redundancies will be treated as being at a "single establishment", but as yet this has not been published.
The other changes originally given an April start date have been delayed:
- Changes to whistleblowing detriment rules (claims must be brought in the public interest but do not have to be made in good faith; employers can be vicariously liable for workers' actions) - now due to come into force in the Summer
- New tribunal rules, including new powers to dispose of unmeritorious claims at an earlier stage - rescheduled to the Summer, to coincide with the introduction of tribunal fees
- Employee shareholders, under which employees will be able to acquire shares in their employer in return for giving up some of their employment protection rights - recently given a new start date of 1 September (if the provisions survive what has been a very rocky parliamentary ride to date).