Consultation with Employees & Representatives
Consultation with Appropriate Representatives
Where more than 20 employees may be made redundant (or may be affected by
proposed dismissals or by measures taken in connection with those
dismissals) at one establishment within a 90 day period, employers must
consult with any appropriate representative of a recognised independent
trade union or, where no union is recognised, elected representatives of
the affected employees. Consultation must begin 30 days before the first
proposed redundancy (45 days if more than 100 employees may be made
redundant). Specific requirements are laid down for electing employees
representatives who are to be consulted where the employer does not
recognise a union.
Employers must, in either case, provide those representatives with reasons
for their plans, numbers and details of employees involved, proposed method
of calculating redundancy payments, redundancy selection methods and
procedural plans. Employers will also need to supply information on the
total number of agency workers engaged, the type of business in which they
are utilised, and the type of work they are contracted to undertake.
If an employer invites affected employees to elect representatives and they
fail to do so within a reasonable period, the employer must give each
affected employee the information that would have been provided to the
Discussions must be ‘meaningful’ ie they should be genuine, constructive
and with a view to avoiding or mitigating the problem. However, the final
decision is down to the employer alone. If the union or elected
representatives claim that this procedure has not been properly under
taken, it can seek to have a protective award made against the employer (up
to 13 weeks' pay for affected employee). This award is intended to protect
the wages of those affected for a defined period.
Consultation with Individual Employees
Individual employees affected should be consulted and provisional selection
for redundancy discussed before the decision is finalised. Any available
alternative work on offer should be discussed and these jobs should be
offered. Employers must remember to consult with employees on maternity or
long term sick leave.
Where appropriate, volunteers for redundancy should also be sought and
considered, whether or not they meet the employer's pre-set redundancy
If 20 or more employees from any one establishment are to be affected,
employers must submit an HR1 form to the Revenue Payment Service, giving 30
days’ notice; 45 days if 100 or more employees are affected. Failure to
notify as required can lead to fines of up to £5,000. Special circumstances
(e.g. commercial sensitivity) may justify departure from this procedure.
Redundancy is potentially a "fair" reason for dismissal but failure to
follow a fair procedure could render employers liable for unfair dismissal.
Consulting during coronavirus
Employers must still consult their employees during the coronavirus
pandemic. Consultations can take place remotely.