New government-led redundancy laws which are designed to help businesses respond quickly to changing market conditions should be embraced by the UK’s firms, according to a leading employment lawyer. Employment specialist Sally Morris is supporting the new legislation which, from 6 April, slices the consultation period from 90 to 45 days when 100 or more employees are to be made redundant. She has labelled the new collective redundancy rules as ‘good for business and good for the economy’ which will allow firms to react far quicker in tough market conditions without hindering the quality of employee consultations.
The government’s changes aim to support businesses by improving and streamlining redundancy consultations. There will also be a new code of conduct introduced.
Ms Morris, partner and head of employment at law firm MFG Solicitors, said: “Historically firms have worked under the 90-day consultation rules but undoubtedly business leaders across the UK will welcome the new streamlined rules coming in this April.
“That is because the new legislation represents a good compromise of interests and delivers economic benefits on a number of levels.
“From next month firms and their HR teams who find themselves having to cull jobs will be able to quickly engage employees in redundancy consultations which are focussed and fair – a process which will be shorter and more streamlined.
“It is no secret that businesses are operating in difficult trading conditions at present. Therefore the shortened consultation period will ultimately allow firms to react quickly to not only cement their trading positions or to implement a restructure, but ensure they can still undertake quality consultations with staff who may be faced with losing their jobs.”
Ms Morris said she has spoken with many large employers about the changes which will also see a new ACAS code of practice introduced. This non-statutory code of practice will help guide businesses through the principles and behaviours behind quality consultations.
She added: “The new rules and a clearer code of practice will give a fair balance when they are introduced in only a matter of weeks. But there remains lots to understand and I urge any firms looking to restructure after April to ensure they are well read on the new rules and if in doubt, take professional advice to help guide them through what will still be a tricky process.”