When to begin consultation - Collective consultation for redundancy

When to begin consultation

You must not decide on any redundancies before holding collective consultation.

There should be enough time to:

  • consult employees and their representatives
  • include anything you've agreed as part of the consultation

You must start consultation for:

  • 20 to 99 redundancies – at least 30 days before the proposed date of any redundancy
  • 100 or more redundancies – at least 45 days before the proposed date of any redundancy

It's a good idea to start earlier wherever possible, to make sure you meet consultation requirements.

How long consultation lasts

There are no rules for how long consultation must last.

In a large or complicated redundancy situation, consultation may take longer than 30 or 45 days. But it may finish sooner if you reach an agreement. If consultation finishes sooner, you must not make anyone redundant before the end of the 30 or 45 days.

You do not need to reach an agreement to end the consultation. However, you must be able to show that:

  • the consultation was genuine
  • you tried to reach an agreement

If you do not do this, employees could make a claim to an employment tribunal. You could be ordered to pay compensation for up to 90 days' pay for each affected employee. This compensation is called a 'protective award'.

Consulting individual employees

You should hold collective consultation first before holding individual consultation.

You may need to be flexible about how you arrange consultation. There may be situations when you need to run collective and individual consultations at the same time.

For example, an employer has agreed with employee representatives how many employees will be made redundant and how they'll be selected. They're still consulting with them about other redundancy-related issues. In this situation, it may be appropriate to start individual consultation with the affected employees.

Find out more about consulting individual employees

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