What we do: Redundancy advice for employers
Our employment law solicitors can help advise and assist your business regarding your redundancy procedure and the steps you need to take to make sure that any redundancy process is carried out fairly.
Redundancy can be a result of:
- Temporary or permanent closure of a business
- Closure or relocation of a certain office or workplace
- Reduction in the requirement for certain roles within the workforce
Situations that don’t count as redundancy include:
- Changing workers from night time to day time shifts
- Efficiency changes to a shift system
- Reducing the availability of overtime
It’s important to ensure that redundancy is a genuine last resort for your businesses, and that it’s not being used for other employment problems such as an employee’s poor performance or misconduct.
In genuine redundancy cases, our redundancy solicitors can:
- Help you to prepare for meetings with employees
- Advise you on following a correct and fair procedure to avoid unfair dismissal claims
- Advise you on calculating the correct entitlements and redundancy payments – either contractual redundancy payments or statutory redundancy payments
- Advise on and negotiate settlements, from fair packages for voluntary redundancy to discretionary or ex-gratia payments
- Act for your business when an employee takes legal action or makes a claim
We’ll guide you through the main stages of the redundancy process:
Stage 1: Notification of risk and consultation
If you have a requirement to make staff redundancies, you must first identify the number of employees who are ‘at risk’ of being made redundant.
This can sometimes be a complex issue and involve redundancy ‘pools’, where objective selection criteria is applied. Those ‘at risk’ should then be informed, with confirmation ideally in writing, and consulted.
If 20 or more employees will be made redundant within a period of 90 days, then this counts as a collective redundancy. You will need to explain why the need for those employees at risk to do the work they’re doing has decreased or stopped.
You should confirm in writing to the staff affected:
- Reasons for your proposed redundancies
- Numbers and descriptions of employees you are proposing to dismiss as redundant
- Proposed method of selecting the employees who could be dismissed
- Proposed method of carrying out the dismissals including the period over which they will take effect
- Proposed method for calculating any redundancy payments
Stage 2: Agree a pool
Where there is more than one employee at risk of redundancy, employers may need to identify a pool from where employees will be selected for any remaining available job roles.
Stage 3: Selection criteria
When selecting employees to be made redundant, you should always act objectively and fairly and aim to reduce and avoid dismissals where possible. If for any reason an employee feels they’re being singled out for personal reasons, you could face a claim for unfair dismissal and possibly discrimination. Failure to follow a fair process could lead to claims of constructive dismissal, or in the worst case, you could be taken to an Employment Tribunal.
Some common selection criteria that are often used include ‘last in first out’, re-interviewing, or a point-scoring system based on weighted criteria like skills and performance, disciplinary and sickness records and length of service.
It’s wise to consult with your employees on the selection criteria to be used, to ensure the criteria are non-discriminatory and able to be measured objectively.
Stage 4: Consultation
Once you have selected employees for redundancy, it’s important to ensure a meaningful and proper consultation process with those affected, and remain open to any suggestions of how to reduce or mitigate redundancies such as job sharing or reduced hours.
You should also offer alternative employment or redeployment where possible to those who are being made redundant, with the opportunity of a trial period in a new role.
Where there is a collective redundancy with more than 20 proposed redundancies, the consultation period must run for a minimum of 30 days. For more than 100 redundancies, there must be a minimum of 45 days consultation.
Stage 5: Notice
Once the consultation period has concluded and decisions made on selections for redundancies, contractual redundancy procedures can be followed. It’s best practice before dismissal to confirm in writing to the employee why they’ve been selected for redundancy. You should invite them to a meeting, with a representative or union rep if they choose, and after inform them of your decision. They have the right to appeal your decision.
Who we help: Businesses across the UK
We provide employers of all sizes across the UK with legal advice on redundancy processes – from start-ups and SMEs to large businesses. We don’t typically act for employees.
Why choose Harper James Solicitors? Our redundancy solicitors’ experience
Our employment law solicitors are highly experienced in complex reorganisations and handling delicate redundancy procedures. We offer sensitive and pragmatic advice on all aspects of a fair and reasonable redundancy process for your business, making sure you meet your legal obligations as an employer and avoid any unwanted claims.
Our senior solicitors are all recruited from partner positions at UK top 100 law firms or from inhouse positions at large international businesses. As long-standing experts in redundancy guidance from employers’ perspectives, they’re ideally placed to offer a holistic, best-practice approach with bespoke guidance on your particular employment circumstances.
Find out more about our employment law solicitors here:
Previously a director in top 50 national firm Shakespeare Martineau, Alan specialises in restraint of trade issues, TUPE, shareholder and disputes at board level.View profile
Employment Law Solicitor
Sean previously worked for a leading national law firm in the employment team, ranked tier 1 in the Legal 500. He advises employers on all aspects of employment law from TUPE to tribunals.View profile
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