The new time limit applies to all redundancies where the proposal to dismiss is made on or after 6 April 2013. This means that the changes will not apply to consultations which have already begun and are still on-going on 6th April. For dismissals of 20-99 employees, the consultation minimum remains at 30 days.

The new legislation confirms that employees whose fixed-term contracts are coming to an end by reason other than redundancy will not ‘count’ towards the total number of employees. Employees whose fixed term contracts are therefore being terminated on the grounds of redundancy will need to be included. However, this change could mean the difference between consulting for 30 days, 45 days or not at all. Voluntary redundancies will still need to be counted.

As before, there is no specified time limit for consultation to take place and employers should be aware that the purpose of consultation has not changed. Consultation should therefore still be carried out in good faith with the intention to be meaningful. This could mean delaying dismissals to allow for longer consultation in certain circumstances, particularly if employers need to allow for election processes before the minimum period starts. In addition, the upper limit for the protective award where employers fail to consult remains at 90 days’ pay.

In light of the changes, ACAS have produced non-statutory guidance which sets out case studies and provides a ten-point checklist for handling collective redundancies. The Guide is intended to offer clarity for employers regarding collective redundancy, distinguishing between what ‘must’ be done and what ‘should’ be done in an attempt to highlight to employers the strict legal obligations.

The code can be found here.

For more information

For more detailed information on the changes, or for assistance in planning a restructure within your organisation, please contact Kate Watkins on 0121 212 7494 or kate.watkins@anthonycollins.com.