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Informing and consulting prior to redundancies

Updating author: Max Winthrop


  • The question of whether or not an employee is redundant is important in determining his or her eligibility to a statutory redundancy payment. (See Definition of redundancy)
  • If it is a redundancy situation, the employee will have the right to claim unfair dismissal if the employer fails to follow the correct procedures and the employee has sufficient qualifying service. (See Definition of redundancy)
  • Employers are required to inform and consult relevant union or employee representatives about redundancy proposals before they are implemented. (See Duty to consult)
  • The consultations must continue for a specified period prior to any dismissals taking effect. (See Duty to consult)
  • If any affected employees belong to a grade for which no union is recognised, the employer must instead consult with employee representatives. (See Which representation?)
  • Consultation must be undertaken "with a view to reaching agreement" and consequently with an open mind. Further, once collective consultation has concluded, employers should consult with the individual employees prior to confirming any dismissal. (See Meaning of consultation)
  • A failure to consult properly in accordance with statutory obligations will render an employer liable to pay affected employees a "protective award". (See Failure to consult: remedies)
  • Employers have a "special circumstances" defence to any claim for a protective award but only exceptional circumstances will justify failing to consult. (See Failure to consult: remedies)