For collective consultation purposes, when calculating if 20 or more employees will be dismissed, should voluntary redundancies be included?
Yes. Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 provides that, where an employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees within 90 days or less, collective consultation obligations apply. For these purposes, voluntary redundancies are generally counted as dismissals. In Optare Group Ltd v Transport and General Workers' Union  IRLR 931 EAT, the Employment Appeal Tribunal confirmed that, where an employee volunteers to be dismissed for redundancy, following an invitation by the employer, this is a dismissal. However, if an employee instigates the process that leads to their termination before the employer has asked for volunteers for redundancy, this could be seen as termination by agreement, rather than a dismissal, in which case it should not be included in the number of redundancies for collective consultation purposes.