Collective redundancy processes which involve 20 or more employees require a significant amount or planning and extensive legal advice and representation. While the laws relating to the fairness of selecting employees for redundancy remain the same as for smaller scale redundancies, large scale redundancies also have a number of additional hurdles which require legal expertise.
The first consideration is whether the consultation period fits within a 30-day (for 20-99 redundancies) or 45-day (for 100+ redundancies) window and whether the statutory notice periods of the affected employees will also be respected. For this reason, it is always vital to obtain legal advice before beginning any redundancy process. During the consultation period it is also extremely useful to have a legal representative on hand for any meetings with Trade Union representatives or elected employee representatives.
Any business undertaking large scale redundancies must also notify the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills using paperwork provided by the National Insolvency Service. Ensuring that this paperwork is completed correctly can pave the way for a smoother and less stressful process.
An employment solicitor can also advise on the impact of redeployment of staff or termination of fixed term contracts on a large-scale redundancy. As an example, the redeployment of staff to another area of a business can be counted towards the overall number of staff involved within a collective redundancy process. Similarly, while fixed term employees coming to the end of their contracts without renewal doesn’t count, dismissal before the end of their contracts does.
For any remaining employees who are being redeployed or taking on new roles, employers should also ensure that their employment contracts are updated to reflect their new positions. In many cases company policies will also need to be redrafted.
While large scale redundancies are not something that any employer would seriously want to consider, it is important that the minute there is a chance that redundancies are on the horizon, legal advice is sought. From ensuring that the correct information is relayed to employees and calculating notice periods, to representing employers in negotiations with Trade Unions, Jarmans employment law team can provide comprehensive legal advice and support.