Collective redundancies

Collective redundancies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Collective redundancies


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Employment rights and work organisation

Collective redundancies

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies.


The Directive shall not apply to:

  • collective redundancies effected under contracts of employment concluded for limited periods of time or for specific tasks except where such redundancies take place prior to the date of expiry or the completion of such contracts;
  • workers employed by public administrative bodies or by establishments governed by public law;
  • the crews of seagoing vessels.


Any employer contemplating collective redundancies must hold consultations with the workers’ representatives with a view to reaching an agreement. These consultations shall, at least, cover ways and means of avoiding collective redundancies or reducing the number of workers affected, and of mitigating the consequences by recourse to accompanying social measures aimed at redeploying or retraining those workers made redundant.

Information to be provided by the employer

The Directive lays down that Member States may make provision for workers’ representatives to call on the services of experts in accordance with measures in force at national level. The employer is to provide workers’ representatives with all relevant information during the course of the consultations and, in any event, is to notify them of the following in writing:

  • the reasons;
  • the period during which redundancies are to be effected;
  • the number and category of workers normally employed;
  • the number to be made redundant;
  • the criteria used to select those workers to be made redundant;
  • the method used to calculate compensation (where applicable).

Procedure for collective redundancies

The Directive lays down the procedure to be followed:

  • The employer notifies the competent public authority in writing of any projected collective redundancies. This notification must contain all the relevant information concerning the projected redundancies and consultations held, except for the method used to calculate compensation. However, where the cessation of activity is the result of a judicial decision, notification is only necessary at the express request of the authority.
  • The employer forwards a copy of the notification to the workers’ representatives, who may send comments to the competent public authority.
  • Collective redundancies take effect at the earliest 30 days after the notification; the competent public authority uses this period to seek solutions. Member States may grant the public authority the power to reduce this period or to extend it to 60 days following notification in cases where the problems cannot be resolved. This is not compulsory for collective redundancies following a cessation of activity resulting from a judicial decision. Wider powers of extension may be granted. The employer must be informed of any extension and the grounds for it before expiry of the initial period.


The Directive is intended to harmonise Member States’ laws on the procedure and practical arrangements for collective redundancies, in order to afford greater protection to workers in the event of collective redundancies.

The Directive is a consolidated version of Directive 75/129/EEC and Directive 92/56/EEC, which have been repealed.

Member States may apply or introduce provisions which are more favourable to workers.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 98/59/EC


L 225 of 12.8.1998

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *