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Beware – lodge notice of collective redundancies with the government in time or risk prosecution

Print publication

29/01/2016

Section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 requires employers to notify the Secretary of State of proposals to make collective redundancies using a form known as a ‘HR1 form’. Failing to do so at the point that the redundancies are proposed carries an unlimited fine.

Up until last year, no prosecutions had been brought by the Government under the legislation. However, this changed in 2015 when BIS brought a case against three ex-directors of City Link, who were alleged to have given insufficient notice for redundancy plans by failing to lodge the HR1 form in time. The delay in question was only alleged to be a few days and whilst the directors were ultimately acquitted at trial, the case serves as a useful reminder to employers that HR1 forms must be submitted as soon as the redundancies are proposed. A word of warning – ‘redundancies’ can also catch circumstances that we would not normally think of as redundancies e.g. termination and re-engagement on new contract terms.

‘Slippage’ of just a day or two in submitting the HR1 form could give rise to a prosecution of directors and an unlimited fine.  Submitting the HR1 form at the correct point in the redundancy process should therefore be viewed a high priority task and it is important to be clear about when the duty to submit the HR1 form arises.

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