Regulations implementing major changes to redundancy collective consultation obligations from 6 April have now been approved by Parliament. The new Acas guidance on handling redundancy consultation is also expected to be published in early April.
The 90 day consultation period is being halved to 45 days where an employer is proposing to dismiss 100 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less. In addition, the normal expiry of a fixed term contract is being excluded from collective redundancy consultation duties (but not if the fixed term is terminated early), and will not count towards reaching the threshold of 20 redundancies within a 90 day period.
The changes apply to proposals to dismiss made on or after 6 April. The key date is the date when the proposal is made and not when the dismissal takes effect. For example, if on 1 April 2013 the employer issues a proposal to effect a number of dismissals at the end of June 2013, then the old law applies. This is simply because the proposal is made before 6 April 2013. The 90 day period to notify the Secretary of State (the HR1 form) is also reduced at the same time to 45 days. These changes do not alter the maximum 90 day protective award, the entitlement to a redundancy payment or obligations to undertake individual consultation.