Business Law & Compliance

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Government sets out plans to update employment legislation

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Calls for improvement to collective redundancy have been answered. The changes to collective redundancy rules to help employees and businesses were announced on Tuesday by employment relations minister Jo Swinson.

According to Swinson, the UK has “a labour market that is flexible, efficient and fair” but some of our laws “need reform to respond to an ever changing employment landscape”.

Much needed clarification – that fixed-term contracts reaching the end of their life are excluded from obligations for collective redundancies consultation – was already a huge step in a welcoming direction. The importance of understanding this process is key to the requirement of applying early for redundancy.

The government plans to reduce the minimum period for large scale redundancies from 90 days to 45 days. The replacement will still allow full employee engagement and offer employee representatives a statutory right to contribute to the process. 

“We have listened to stakeholders and there is a strong argument for shortening the minimum period which is backed up by hard evidence,” said Swinson.

This reduced consultation period will decrease “unnecessary delays” in restructuring, and will increase chances for those affected to get new jobs quickly.

New non-statutory guidance from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) will be introduced to address key issues affecting collective redundancies consultation, designed to provide key tools to help improve consultation.

Swinson continued: “We want to improve the quality of consultations by making sure that there are tools available to help employers manage this process fairly and successfully to deliver the best possible outcomes for all parties.”

These 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.”

A secure relationship between employee and employer is vital oil to secure the living machine called work keeps working efficiently.

Changes will be made through secondary legislation. Draft regulations will be laid in the New Year and the changes are expected to be made by 6 April 2013.

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