Q: As an employer, what do I need to consider before making redundancies?
A: Consider alternatives to redundancies. For example, reducing hours, stopping recruitment or reducing the number of agency or casual workers.
If redundancies are still needed, you need to consider which roles are at risk of redundancy. As much as possible you should approach this on a ’no names’ basis. It is the role that is redundant, not the individual employee.
Redundancies generally occur where either:
- The business is closing down;
- A workplace is closing down (e.g. a site closure); or
- The employer needs fewer employees to conduct its business.
Before you make any firm decisions about redundancies, you must inform those employees affected that they are at risk of redundancy. You should then carry out a consultation exercise with affected employees.
Q: How long should the consultation last?
A: Where fewer than 20 redundancies are anticipated, there is no set timeframe. Where a handful of redundancies are planned, the consultation process will typically last one to three weeks.
Q: What do I pay to a redundant employee?
A: First, check their notice period in the contract of employment. You can decide whether to have them work out their notice period or terminate right away and make a payment in lieu of notice. A redundant employee may be demotivated during their notice period, so making a payment in lieu is more common.
Secondly, anyone with more than two years service is entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. This is calculated based on their weekly wage, number of year’s service and age. You can calculate the payment at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay.
Q: As an employee, how can I access legal advice if I am being made redundant?
A: If you are a member,of atrade union, they should be able to help you. Otherwise, the Acas website (www.acas.org.uk) has some useful information. Or contact a local employment solicitor to get a quote for advice.
Also, your employer should allow you to be accompanied during consultation meetings by a colleague or trade union representative.
Q: My job is redundant but I would like to do a different job with my employer
A: Your employer must review whether there is any suitable alternative role that you could carry out. Whether a job is suitable depends upon how similar the work is to your current role, your skills and experience and the terms of the job, such as pay and hours. You risk losing your entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment if you unreasonably turn down an offer of suitable alternative employment.
Q: I have been given notice of redundancy, is that the end of the matter?
A: Your employer should give you the opportunity to appeal internally against the decision to make you redundant. There is usually a short time frame (e.g. five days) in which to submit your appeal. Make sure you set out why you think the decision was unfair.