Topics discussed in a consultation
Redundancy consultation is a statutory entitlement for all employees who are being made redundant by their employer. It’s intended to provide an opportunity for a discussion about the circumstances and reasons for the redundancies.
The topics communicated in a redundancy consultation include:
- Reasons that the company has decided to make staff redundant
- Numbers of employees facing redundancy, the criteria being used to select employees for redundancy
- Anticipated timescales
- Arrangements for redundancy payments to be made.
There should also be discussion about possible alternatives to redundancy, such as retraining and redeployment to a different role or location.
Consultation with employer or staff representative
If fewer than 20 employees are being made redundant, consultation may happen directly between the affected staff and the employer. If the figure is 20 or above, this qualifies as a collective redundancy and requires the employer to consult with a staff representative. This representative could either be from a trade union or directly elected by employees.
In terms of how long the consultation should be, there is no statutory minimum or maximum duration. However, the consultation needs to start at least 30 days before any dismissals take place if there are between 20 and 99 redundancies, and 45 days before dismissals if there are 100 or more redundancies being made.
These rules may be expanded – to impose a minimum consultation period, for example – as part of a collective negotiation with a trade union. Any such additional measures would become legally binding if they were written into the terms of employment.
After making an employee redundant, are they entitled to time off work with pay to find a new job?
In most cases, yes. You must grant employees facing redundancy paid leave to find a new job, as long as they have worked for you for at least 2 years.
Regardless of how much time they take off, you aren’t legally obliged to pay them more than two fifths of their weekly wage for these days. This means that if the employee takes off just two fifths of their normal working week, they must get paid in full, but any additional days they take will be effectively without pay. There is no maximum or minimum amount of time you must allow, but you should act reasonably.