Collective Redundancies – form HR1
Recent press reports regarding the criminal prosecution of directors have highlighted the importance of informing the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) about collective redundancies by completing form HR1.
When an employer is proposing to dismiss employees as redundant they are required to consult; either with representatives of a trade union, where one is recognised or with elected employee representatives. If they employer is proposing 20 or more redundancies in any period of 90 days then consultation must start at least 30 days before the first redundancy is to take effect, if it is proposing 100 or more redundancies within any period of 90 days then consultation must start at least 45 days before the first redundancies. The consequence of failing to consult can be extremely serious, a ‘protective award’ of up to 90 days’ pay can be made in relation to each redundant employee.
However, in addition to the requirement to consult, there is a separate requirement to inform the Secretary of State, if an employer is proposing more than 20 redundancies in any 90 day period. In practice this is usually done by completing form ‘HR1’ which is sent to the Redundancy Payment Service, on behalf of BIS. Recently it seems that BIS has been focusing its attention on directors of companies who fail to complete a form HR1, particularly where the business has gone into administration.
Failure to provide the required information is a criminal offence and a recent Guardian article reports that the directors of two companies which laid off staff at short notice, without completing a form HR1, are facing criminal prosecutions. As set out on the Gov.uk website, employers are required to complete a form HR1 in order for BIS to distribute it to the appropriate government departments and agencies who offer job brokering services and/or training services.
A copy of form HR1 can be found here.
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