On 18 December 2012 it was announced that the 90 day consultation period before large-scale redundancies can take place is to be reduced to 45 days from April 2013.
The announcement by Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said the reduction in consultation time is aimed at helping both businesses and workers. She commented that the consultation process is usually completed well within the current 90 day period and the reduction would enable employers more flexibility to take the necessary steps to restructure. “Our reform 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.”
Whilst some commentators have welcomed the change which brings the UK closer to a number of EU competitors, it has also faced some criticism by those who think the change is yet further watering down of employees’ rights.
Plans to exclude fixed-term contracts from collective redundancy agreements when they reach the end of their agreed termination date were also announced.