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Posted by on in Termination of Employment
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Changes to collective redundancy rules

The Government has recently announced details of the latest in a series of proposed employment law changes, with the focus this time falling on collective redundancy rules.

The announcement comes as part of the Government’s commitment to review employment law to support business and concentrate on growth. It follows a consultation exercise launched in June 2012. 


The Coalition Government started a systematic review of employment law in 2010. This Employment Law Review is now halfway through and, according to the Government, aims to provide clarity, certainty and give businesses the confidence to manage their workforce effectively. 

The Review sits alongside the Employment Law-related Red Tape Challenge to reduce regulatory burdens on business.

Proposed changes

The latest proposed changes include:

  • reducing the current 90 day minimum period, before very large scale redundancies can take place, to 45 days,
  • legislating to make clear that fixed term contracts that have reached the end of their natural life are excluded from obligations for collective redundancies consultation, and
  • introducing new non-statutory Acas guidance to address a number of key issues affecting collective redundancies consultation.

Minimum period

According to the Government, the replacement of the current 90 day period to 45 days will still allow full employee engagement and offer employee representatives a statutory right to contribute to the process. 

The Government has also stressed that the new 45 day period will be a minimum period, and businesses may consult for longer where appropriate.

Mixed reactions

Reaction to the Government’s proposals has been mixed. 

The Institute of Directors welcomed the news, with Alexander Ehmann, Head of Regulatory Policy at the Institute of Directors, commenting that companies that are facing problems have to be able to restructure swiftly, and that a 45 day consultation period brings the UK closer to a number of EU competitors.

Trade union Unison, however, greeted the proposals with dismay, describing the reduced consultation time as “a cruel blow for workers and their families.”


There is a short timescale laid out by the Government. It intends to lay draft regulations early in 2013, and the changes are expected to be made by 6th April 2013.


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