The government has announced changes to the rules on larger scale redundancies that will cut by half the consultation period required.
Under the measures announced on 18 December, the current 90-day minimum period that applies where 100 or more employees are to be made redundant will be reduced to 45 days.
Announcing the move, Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said on 18 December: “We have listened to stakeholders and there is a strong argument for shortening the minimum period which is backed up by hard evidence.
“The process is usually completed well within the existing 90-day minimum period, which can cause unnecessary delays for restructuring, and make it difficult for those affected to get new jobs quickly.
“Our reforms will strike an appropriate balance between making sure employees are engaged in decisions about their future and allowing employers greater certainty and flexibility to take necessary steps to restructure.”
The announcement follows a consultation launched in June. The government said a 45-day consultation period would still allow full employee engagement and offer employee representatives a statutory right to contribute to the process.
The 45-day period will be a minimum and businesses will be able consult for longer where appropriate.
Legislation will be introduced and the changes should come into force by 6 April 2013. Acas will also be working with stakeholders to produce non-statutory designed to help improve the quality of consultations.