Collective redundancies are decisions by employers to lay off a group of employees. The EU Directive on this question (98/59/EC) aims to improve protection for workers affected by decisions of this kind. It sets out rules on the information and consultation of workers’ representatives before collective redundancies are made, as well as provisions on practical support for the employees who are laid off.
Under the Directive, any employer contemplating collective redundancies must hold consultations in good time with the workers’ representatives, with a view to reaching an agreement. These consultations must, at the minimum, cover means of avoiding collective redundancies or reducing the number of workers affected, and of mitigating the consequences, in particular by recourse to accompanying social measures aimed at redeploying or retraining those workers made redundant.
To ensure that the consultations are effective, employers must provide the workers’ representatives with written information on the reasons for the projected redundancies, the number of categories of workers to be made redundant, the number and categories of workers normally employed, the period over which the projected redundancies are to be effected, the selection criteria proposed, and the method for calculating any extra redundancy payments. The employer is also required to notify the competent public authority in writing of any projected collective redundancies.
With the exceptions of public administrative bodies or establishments governed by public law, the crews of seagoing vessels and redundancies effected under fixed-term contracts (except if such redundancies take place prior to the date of the expiry of the contract), all employers employing at least 20 workers in an establishment are concerned by the Directive.
However, the Directive allows Member States to choose between two alternatives when declaring redundancies to be collective:
- When, over a period of 30 days, the number of redundancies is:
- at least 10 workers in establishments normally employing more than 20 and less than 100 workers;
- at least 10% of the number of workers in establishments normally employing at least 100 but less than 300 workers;
- at least 30 workers in establishments normally employing 300 workers or more.
- When, over a period of 90 days, at least 20 workers are made redundant, whatever the number of workers normally employed in the establishments in question.
The texts of the Directive and its forerunners are available, as well as the implementation studies.
- Directive 98/59/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies
- Directive 92/56/EEC amending Directive 75/129/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies
- Directive 75/125/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies
- Proposal for a Directive on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies COM (96) 620
- Amended proposal for a Directive amending Directive 75/129/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies COM (92) 127
- Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 75/129/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies COM (91) 292
- Proposal for a Directive on the harmonisation of the legislation of the Member States relating to redundancies COM (72) 1400
- Commission Report - Implementation of the Directive concerning the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies (1999)
- Commission Report - Implementation of the Directive on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies SEC(91) 1639
- Reports (Executive Summaries) on the implementation of Directive 98/59/EC in Bulgaria and in Romania (2009)
- Termination of employment relationships:
- Legal situation in: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (March 2007)
- Legal situation in the Member States of the European Union (April 2006)
- National Study Reports (2006): Bulgaria / Cyprus / Czech republic / Estonia / Hungary / Latvia / Lithuania / Malta / Poland / Romania / Slovakia / Slovenia
- Report on the remedies and sanctions with regard to national legislation implementing Directive 75/129/EEC (amended by Directive 92/56/EEC) on collective redundancies and 77/187/EEC on transfers of undertakings (V/1451/98)
- Report (Executive Summary) on the Directives 75/129/EEC and 92/56/EEC in Austria, Finland and Sweden (SCC Nr. 97D2031)