I have been told of impending redundancies but my employer does not appear to have discussed this with staff. Is this allowed?

Your employer must consult with the workforce before making any redundancy dismissals. However, the extent of the formal consultation duty depends on the number of redundancy dismissals proposed.

There is a legal duty on employers to inform and consult affected employees about proposals to make 20 or more redundancy dismissals at any one establishment within a period of 90 days or less. Consultation must take place at a 'formative' stage – certainly before the employer has decided to make the redundancies.

The duty is to consult with representatives. Where there is a recognised union, consultation must be with the union. It must take place at least 30 days before any dismissal notices for redundancy are issued. This rises to at least 45 days where 100 or more redundancies are involved.

A failure to comply with the statutory rules on collective consultation over redundancies can land your employer with a large penalty payment (called a ‘protective award’).

In addition, employers should consult employees who are affected by any proposed redundancy individually (not just in cases where 20 or more redundancies are proposed).