New study reveals nearly 1 in 5 employers are likely to make redundancies over the next year

A new survey from Acas has found that nearly 1 in 5 of employers (18%) are likely to make staff redundancies over the next year.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about their redundancy plans in the next 12 months.

The poll found that large businesses were more likely to make redundancies than small and medium sized (SME) businesses. 3 out of 10 large businesses (30%) are likely to make redundancies and 10% of SMEs said that were likely to do so.

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

"The impact of global events has seen some businesses facing difficult circumstances and our poll reveals that nearly 1 in 5 are considering redundancies in the year ahead.

"Redundancies at large organisations have been in the news recently and it appears that 3 in 10 organisations that employ more than 250 employees are likely to make redundancies in the next 12 months.

"Acas advice for bosses is to exhaust all possible alternatives to redundancies first but if employers feel like they have no choice then they must follow the law in this area or they could be subject to a costly legal process."

If an employer finds there are no other choices than to make redundancies then there are strict rules on consulting staff that they must follow.

An employer must discuss any planned changes and consult with each employee who could be affected. This includes staff who may not be losing their jobs but will be impacted.

The minimum consultation period varies depending on the number of employees that an employer wishes to make redundant. By law, employers who wish to make 20 or more staff redundant over any 3 month (90 day) period must also consult a recognised trade union or elected employee representatives about the proposed changes.

For 20 to 99 redundancies, consultation must start at least 30 days before the first dismissal can take effect, and for 100 or more redundancies, it has to start at least 45 days before. For less than 20 redundancies, there is no set time period but the length of consultation must be reasonable.

If an employer does not meet consultation requirements, employees can take their employer to an employment tribunal. If successful, the employer may have to pay up to 90 days' full pay for each affected employee. Someone can also make a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal on the grounds that they were not consulted, or the consultation was not meaningful.

Employers should consider all possible options before considering redundancies as other solutions to their situation could be found through consultation with their staff, employee representatives and unions.

Acas advisers have seen many examples of this joint working that's produced creative alternatives to job losses, such as part-time working, cuts to overtime, finding alternative roles and retraining.

Read Acas's full advice for staff and employers about redundancies

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Background notes

1. Acas commissioned YouGov to poll senior decision makers in a representative sample of British businesses. The survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 1074 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 March and 5 April 2022. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc and have been weighted and are representative of British business size.

2. Participants were asked how likely, if at all, they or their organisation are to make staff redundancies in the next 12 months (up to March 2023).

The results were that:

  • 18% were likely to make redundancies
  • 72% were unlikely to make redundancies
  • 10% did not know

For large businesses that employ more than 250 employees (weighted sample size 427):

  • 30% were likely to make redundancies
  • 58% were unlikely to make redundancies
  • 12% did not know

For small and medium sized businesses (SME) that employ 1 to 249 employees (weighted sample size 647):

  • 10% were likely to make redundancies
  • 81% were unlikely to make redundancies
  • 9% did not know

3. Acas has a dedicated page for businesses that need support during this difficult time.