Redundancy, restructure and consultation
It’s a sad consequence of today’s turbulent economic climate that, in pursuit of cost-efficiencies, business restructure is more prevalent and often leads to redundancies.
If you’re being made redundant, your employer has responsibilities to treat you fairly and to follow the correct process. You have specific rights and may be eligible for:
- redundancy pay
- a notice period
- a consultation with your employer
- the option to move into a different job
- time off to find a new job
Fair and reasonable selection for redundancy
You must be selected for redundancy in a fair way, for example because of your level of experience or capability to do the job.
Your employer should use a fair and objective way of selecting you for redundancy. You cannot be selected because of age, gender, or if you’re disabled or pregnant. If you are, you may make a claim for unfair dismissal.
Frequently used methods are:
- last in, first out (employees with the shortest length of service are selected first)
- asking for volunteers (self-selection)
- disciplinary records
- appraisal scores, skills, qualifications and experience
Your employer can make you redundant without having to follow a selection process if your job no longer exists. This may occur if the business is closing a whole department or you’re the only employee in your part of the organisation.
Suitable alternative employment
Your employer may offer you ‘suitable alternative employment’. If the new role is similar to your old role and fulfils certain criteria, you may lose your right to statutory redundancy pay if your turn it down.
You have the right to a four-week trial period for any alternative employment. If you decide the new job is not suitable and you inform your employer within the trial period, your employment rights, including your right to statutory redundancy pay, are not affected.
If your employer is making up to 19 redundancies, there are no rules about how they should carry out the consultation.
If the organisation is making 20 or more redundancies at the same time, the collective redundancy rules apply.
Collective consultation rules stipulate that the employer has a duty to consult with employees. You may have an elected representative (which could be a union member of elected employee) to act on behalf of all affected employees.
The consultation process must last a minimum of 30 days (or 45 days if over 100 staff are affected) before the first staff member is dismissed. During this time, the employer must provide written details of:
- the reasons for redundancies
- the numbers and categories of employees involved
- the numbers of employees in each category
- how you plan to select employees for redundancy
- how you’ll carry out redundancies
- how you’ll work out redundancy payments:
What to do next
Experiencing redundancy may be upsetting, especially if you have worked with the organisation a long time. The consultation process is complex and may happen quickly from the day you are first notified. It’s often a good idea to talk through the process with a specialist legal adviser to consider whether you may be able to improve your position and negotiate a better settlement.
For an informal conversation about your needs telephone 01903 863284 or use the contact form to detail your requirements.