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BIS plans to halve the consultation period for large-scale redundancies

The Government is to press ahead with plans to reduce the consultation period before large-scale redundancies can take place from 90 to 45 days.

Employment relations minister Jo Swinson said the move to halve the consultation period for businesses making 100 or more redundancies would provide greater certainty for employees and flexibility for employers.

Is it one of many changes to employment legislation announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which also plans to exclude completed fixed-term contracts from the collective redundancy consultation process.

Jo Swinson said: "The [collective redundancy consultation] 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 to simplify collective redundancies and forms part of an ongoing review of UK employment law to support businesses and boost growth.

The proposed changes to employment legislation would:

  • reduce the minimum consultation period before large scale redundancy can take place from the current 90 days to 45 days
  • make it clear that fixed term contracts at the end of their life-span are excluded from any collective redundancy consultations 
  • introduce new non-statutory guidance from Acas (the independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to address a number of issues affecting collective redundancy consultations.

Although the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors both welcomed the announcement, the Trade Union Congress argued that a shorter consultancy period would not give 'loyal staff' enough time to 'think through their options'.