The Government has announced a proposal to halve the 90 day minimum consultation period, for collective redundancies of 100 employees or more in one establishment, to 45 days.

The Government believes that the change will benefit employers by giving them more flexibility to restructure their businesses efficiently, in response to changing market conditions.

It is also believed that the reduction in the consultation period will benefit employees by shortening the period of uncertainty that they face, whilst still giving them a reasonable amount of time to consider retraining or to seek alternative employment.  

New non-statutory ACAS guidance is also proposed to assist employers on key matters relating to collective redundancies consultations such as guidance on what is an ‘establishment’ to which the collective consultation legislation applies. The ACAS guidance will also assist employers by setting out principles for good quality consultations.

The Government plans to bring the amended legislation and new ACAS guidance into effect on 6 April 2013, with a review of the reduced consultation period to take place once the Government has had time to see the effect.