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Businesses and employees turn to Acas as demand for advice on redundancy and lay-offs rises

Tuesday 02 December 2008

The number of businesses and employees seeking advice on redundancy, lay-offs and business transfers hit a high in November, according to new figures released by Acas, the employment relations service.

Amid the economic downturn almost a third (31%) of enquiries to Acas' helpline in November were on redundancy, lay-offs and business transfers – a rise of 12% since May.

The Acas website has also received a sharp rise in people viewing  guidance on redundancy issues with over 15,000 visits a week in November compared to 4,000 in May, a jump of nearly 300%.

Enquiries to the Acas helpline have shown that employers are most likely to ask about their legal responsibilities, consultation periods and how to decide which employees to make redundant. Common enquiries from employees include asking about their own notice period and redundancy pay levels.

Ed Sweeney, Acas Chair commented: "Given the challenging economic environment, these figures are not surprising. We are urging businesses to resist any knee-jerk reactions, and ensure that decisions are assessed well ahead of being made."

"Thinking about the longer term or looking at alternatives to redundancy, such as redeployment, are just two areas where businesses may be able to save jobs and money in the medium-long term."

Research carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies last year revealed that the Acas helpline helped to avoid around 16,000 employment tribunals, saving UK business £120 million.

Further information

pdf icon Redundancies factsheet [110kb]
pdf icon Employee Q & As on redundancy [27kb]

For more, visit our page on Redundancy, notice, retirement and transfers

Notes to editors

Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

Calculation of £120 million figure:
16,190 (number of diverted tribunals) multiplied by £7,484* = £121,165, 960

*Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown that:  The average cost associated with an employment tribunal claim that employers face is £7,484

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