Acas has published guidance on how employers should handle collective redundancies, in the light of legislative changes made on 6 April 2013.
Employers that are proposing to make 100 or more redundancies now have to start consultation at least 45 days before any dismissals can take effect, a reduction from the former requirement of 90 days.
Acas chair Ed Sweeney said: “This new guidance draws on our knowledge, expertise and experience in helping to resolve the thousands of workplace disputes every year.
“In 2011/12, 11 per cent of Acas’ collective conciliation cases related to redundancies and of the 925,000 calls to our helpline, around 20% were seeking information on redundancy-related situations.”
However Stephen Simpson, senior employment law editor at XpertHR, suggested that the guidance does not include enough detail on the election of employee representatives, who have to be in place before consultation can begin.
“This is something that can be unclear to non-unionised employers, typically medium-sized employers, which will have to hold elections to find appropriate representatives before they start consultation,” he explained.
“Although this is dealt with briefly in appendix 4, the guidance doesn’t stress the importance of electing representatives before consultation starts or set out how employers might go about holding an election.”
Further detail on what is covered by the new guidance is available on XpertHR, which also has interactive workflows on the process to follow when conducting a redundancy process and when conducting an election for employee representatives for collective redundancy consultation.
The XpertHR policies and documents section includes, among other things, a letter to union or employee representatives starting consultation on proposed redundancies and a letter informing the wider workforce about a potential redundancy situation.
How to manage collective redundancies can be downloaded from the Acas website.