A recent survey conducted by Acas has revealed that 30 percent of UK employers are likely to make staff redundancies over the next year.

The survey was commissioned by Acas and conducted by YouGov, with British businesses being asked about their redundancy plans for the next 12 months.

Large businesses more likely to make redundancies

The poll found that two in five (41%) large businesses are likely to make redundancies, compared to one in five (20%) small and medium-sized (SME) businesses. Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, commented on the findings, saying, “Some businesses across

Britain are facing tough challenges and our poll reveals that three in ten are considering redundancies in the year ahead. Our findings also show that large organizations are more likely to make redundancies than smaller organizations that employ less than 250 employees.”

Strict rules for consulting staff

Employers who find there are no other options but to make redundancies must follow strict rules on consulting staff. An employer must discuss any planned changes and consult with each employee who could be affected, including those who may not be losing their jobs but will be impacted.

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

For 20-99 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.

Costly legal process for non-compliance

If an employer fails to 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.

Consider all possible alternatives

Employers are advised to exhaust all possible alternatives to redundancies first. Acas advisers have seen many examples of joint working that have produced creative alternatives to job losses. These include part-time working, cuts to overtime, finding alternative roles, and retraining. Clews emphasizes the importance of considering these options, saying, “If employers feel like they have no choice but to make redundancies, then they must follow the law in this area, or they could be subject to a costly legal process.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.