24% of UK businesses unaware of the redundancy consultation process

The world of HR is having to adapt quickly and as many businesses prepare for the next wave of large-scale redundancies, experts are urging employers to adapt to and understand the consultation process, legalities involved, how to conduct these virtually and to build in longer time scales.

A recent study by Acas has found that over a third of employers admit they are looking to cut more jobs by December 2020, with 24% of large companies and 33% of small businesses being unaware of their legal responsibilities around redundancy consultations.

Business have already made the shift to conducting interviews and consultations virtually, with only 33% of business planning to make further redundancies, and tell employees in person.

Chief Executive of the REC explained that ‘it is essential they know the law before making any decisions. Redundancies must be a last resort and employers must use a fair and balanced selection process and conduct consultation proceedings with those employees with as much warning as possible.’

Experts are placing focus on ensuring that the consultation process adapts to our new remote working style and is as fair as possible, offering the following advice:

  • As redundancies look to rise over the next few months, employers need to ensure that these are planned in a ‘humane’ way.
  • Extra time needs to be considered when dealing with the consultation process to allow for logistical issues from telling people remotely. Employees need to be informed that they are still entitled to have someone accompany them to these meetings.
  • Every employer should approach this process with kindness and compassion, preserving dignity and showing respect.
  • Care needs to be taken when conducting these meetings over the phone. Consideration needs to be taken as messages can be delivered and received differently in a remote and/ or electronic scenario that would typically be face to face.
  • Employers and HR need to impose the standard law that, individual consultations are fundamental unless in a situation involving 20 or more redundancies, in which case collective consultation is required. Shockingly, as much as 24% of businesses are unaware of this law.
  • Employers should exhaust all other avenues before considering redundancies. Once decided that this is a last resort, businesses must follow the law correctly.
  • Employers are responsible for supporting employees in identifying skills to help them change roles.

An urgent need to understand the law and provide redundancy support

As 30th September marked the deadline for issuing redundancy notices to between 20 and 99 workers before the end of Furlough scheduled for 31st October, business who are unsure of the law and consultation process should now urgently be looking to understand this. Outsourced HR services and Redundancy support services are an excellent way to ensure laws are followed and your people are managed through this sensitive time in a way that keeps them engaged and comfortable with the process.

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) has predicted as many as 450,000 redundancies likely to me made by Autumn 2020.  Experts are urging businesses to put into place relevant processes and funding to support employees to seek alternative work and strengthen their skills. Outplacement services successfully transition your people into their next opportunity – whatever that may be. Not only that, but outplacement is a proven way to increase engagement of those remaining in the business, delivering direct ROI and increasing brand reputation in the market.

At Connor, we offer bespoke outplacement programmes to give your leavers the best start in their next step. From large scale, to Executive level, one on one and virtual outplacement programmes, we tailor each and every programme so no one gets ‘processed.’ Want to find out more? Get in touch.

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