A new survey from Acas has found that nearly one in five British employers are likely to make redundancies over the next year.

The poll, carried out by YouGov, asked participants how likely, if at all, they were to make members of their staff redundant in the next 12 months (up to March 2023). Overall, it found that 18 per cent were likely to do so, while 72 per cent were unlikely and 10 per cent did not know.

It found a difference in approach between large businesses (those with more than 250 employees) and small and medium sized (SME) organisations in that bigger companies reported that they were more likely to make redundancies than SMEs.

Specifically, the poll found that three out of ten large companies (30 per cent) said they were likely to make redundancies, 58 per cent were unlikely and 12 per cent did not know. Only one out of ten SMEs (10 per cent), on the other hand, said that they were likely to make redundancies, 81 per cent were unlikely to do so and nine per cent did not know.

If an employer decides that they have no choice but to make redundancies, there are strict rules that they must follow. For instance, they must discuss any planned changes and consult with every employee who could be affected.

The minimum consultation period varies depending on the number of employees that are to be made redundant. By law, employers who intend to make 20 or more staff redundant over any 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 beforehand. For fewer than 20 redundancies, there is no set time period, but the length of consultation must be reasonable or the employer risks unfair dismissal claims.

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. Employees can also, in some circumstances, make a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal on the grounds that they were not consulted, or the consultation was not meaningful.

To read more, click here.