Collective redundancy is the dismissal by an employer employing more than 15 workers of five or more employees in the same establishment, or at different establishments located in the same province within a period of 120 days. The employer must notify the works council and the Employment Office of its intention to make collective redundancies. Unions may ask for a joint examination in order to reach an agreement; failing this, the employer may notify the affected employees of their dismissal one by one with notice. To initiate redundancy, the employer must inform the employee representatives and the appropriate industry union in writing of its intention. Where there are no local representatives, the company must notify the full-time officials in the relevant union(s). The company must also notify the labour authorities. Within seven days of union representatives being informed, the parties must conduct a joint examination of the reason for the surplus labour and the proposed dismissal, of the possibility of redeployment, and of the use of solidarity contracts or the introduction of flexible working time to forestall dismissals. Should the union not ask for a joint examination, the employer must notify the competent local job office to continue the procedure.
The consequences of unlawful dismissal are different for employee hired before 7 March 2015 and those hired after.
For employees hired before 7 March 2015, the consequence of unlawful collective dismissal when there is a violation of the criteria for the selection of employees to be dismissed is the reinstatement of the employee and the payment of a ‘reinstatement indemnification’ (a maximum of 12 months’ salary).
For other cases of unlawful dismissal, the only consequence is the payment of a ‘reinstatement indemnification’ (set between a minimum of six and a maximum of 24 months’ salary). The dismissal is then effective.
For employee hired after 7 March 2015, reinstatement and payment of a ‘reinstatement indemnification’ (a maximum of 12 months’ salary) can only be ordered following an oral dismissal or a discriminatory dismissal.
In other cases of unlawful dismissal, the employer only has to pay a ‘reinstatement indemnification’ (between a minimum of six and a maximum of 36 months’ salary, depending on the length of service with the employer, the lack of reasons behind the dismissal, and the damages suffered by the employee). The dismissal is then effective.