Redundancy consultation process
Consultation in general
Before you are made redundant you are entitled to redundancy consultation with your employer about the reasons behind the proposed redundancy, regardless of how many people are being made redundant. If you had no consultation in a redundancy situation, this is likely to be unlawful.
Group redundancies and collective redundancy consultation
If a group of people of 20 or more are being made redundant at the same time in one establishment, then there are specific processes that the consultation must follow.
In these circumstances there should be an elected representative (rep) acting for you as a group, this can be either:-
• A trade union rep (if you’re a member of trade union)
• A properly elected rep if you’re not in, or your employer does not recognise, a trade union
The election should be done fairly, with all colleagues having the opportunity to stand as a rep and vote for other reps.
The consultation should follow a set process allowing questions to gathered and answers to be given, it is vitally important that the consultation is meaningful and covers the following:-
• Full transparent reasons for the redundancy
• The processes in place for redundancy selection
• Ways to minimise and avoid redundancies if possible
• How to keep the number to the absolute minimum
• How to limit the impact of redundancies (re-training and support for looking for a new job)
Minimum consultation length
There is a legal minimum length of time consultation for collective redundancies must follow, the process can take longer if the company wants but it must be at least:-
• 30 Days – If there are between 20 and 99 redundancies, the process must start at least 30 days before the first dismissals take place
• 45 Days – If there are 100 or more redundancies planned, or the company ends up dismissing more than 100, then the consultation must start at least 45 days before any dismissals
• These rules do not apply to fixed term contracts or for those who are self employed
There are some exceptional cases where this may not happen, however only the tribunal process can decide the legitimacy of a consultation process where a company has not followed the requirements.
It is recommended that any employer making redundancies follows a proper consultation process, even if under 20 employees are likely to be made redundant. It should be noted that the case before the European court of Justice (ECJ) based on the definition of an establishment, as collective redundancy consultation is defined as at one physical location, rather than one company; was lost under appeal. This means there is no statutory process for any location with under 20 employees.
If you had no consultation, or it did not adhere to the minimum periods, if it wasn’t meaningful by either not being transparent, or attempting to minimise redundancies, then you have the opportunity to make a claim through an employment tribunal for a protective award.