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The clear objective of European law in relation to redundancy—defined in the consolidated Collective Redundancies Directive (98/59) as ‘dismissals effected by an employer for one or more reasons not related to the individual workers concerned’—is to promote industrial democracy. Thus, employees enjoy a consultative role in the decision making process, and a level of protection is provided to employees who are displaced. However, specific legal criteria vary when it comes to restructuring companies in different countries.
This book provides an overview of the relevant legislation regarding redundancy schemes in each of the 27 EU Member States, as well as Russia and Switzerland. Following an introductory chapter describing the European directive regarding mass redundancies, 29 country reports written by one or more experienced employment lawyers from the respective country offer overviews of relevant national legislation and case law regarding timing, information and consultation, risks, and costs, as well as practical legal guidance.
The individual reports cover how each jurisdiction deals with such practical matters as the following:
• freedom of management to organise and to reorganise businesses;
• enhancement of employee rights;
• voluntary redundancy and voluntary early retirement programmes;
• circumstances where an employer is proposing to effect a change of terms and conditions of employment;
• the ‘ten percent rule’ model (comparing the number of redundancies proposed to the total workforce) versus the ‘aggregate’ model (which focuses on the total number of redundancies to be declared);
• definition of ‘establishment’ for the purpose of applying the consultation threshold;
• exceptions (e.g., fixed term contracts, contracts which are task related and where the task has been completed, public administrative bodies, establishments governed by public law, and the crews of sea-going vessels);
• details of local law provisions concerning employee representatives—local Works Councils, Comités d’Entreprise, trade unions, or groups specifically elected for the purpose;
• what must be covered in the consultation agenda;
• obligation on the part of the employer to make all relevant information available—e.g., reasons, number of categories of workers to be made redundant, number and categories of workers normally employed, period over which redundancies are to be effected, selection criteria, and payment; and
• notification to the relevant ‘competent public authority’ of the impending redundancies.
This book will be enormously helpful to all who deal professionally with employment law in one or more countries in Europe. Legal counsel as well as HR directors will find it of great value in numerous situations that arise constantly in the day-to-day conduct of business.