Following a call for evidence on the operation of the rules that apply to consulting with employees when collective redundancies are necessary, the Government has published a consultation outlining its proposed reforms. The proposals include:
- introducing a new, non-statutory Code of Practice to give clearer information on how to conduct good quality consultations;
- reducing the current 90-day minimum period for large redundancies (over 100 staff) to 45 or 30 days; and
- improving the guidance for employers and employees on the support on offer from the Government.
There are no plans to change the Protective Award payable by the employer when there has been a failure to consult with employees, which stands at a maximum of 90 days’ pay for each employee affected by the failure to consult. The Government’s view is that the level of the award is linked to the employer’s attempts to comply, not the length of the consultation period, and as such the penalty is an effective deterrent.
The closing date for replies is 19 September 2012.