The coronavirus pandemic has brutally exposed the vulnerabilities of many sectors of business throughout the UK. Despite the financial measures put in place by the UK government, it is a sad reality now being faced by many employers that they will be forced to make redundancies and reduce their workforce in order for their businesses to survive.
Ross Pierrepont, an employment law specialist at Tallents Solicitors offers guidance and advice to employers on a correct and fair redundancy process.
Step 1: Identify when a redundancy situation arises
A redundancy situation will arise where you can demonstrate that there is no longer a need (or there is a reduced need) for employees to carry out a particular kind of work, or work in a particular location. This can affect an entire business, a business unit or team, or even a single role. Redundancy may be non-compulsory or compulsory, depending on the circumstances.
Employees have rights and must be consulted in a redundancy situation. When selecting employees for redundancy, employers must be able to show that the need for redundancies is genuine, that the employee’s job no longer exists and there has been no discrimination in the selection.
Step 2: Consider alternatives to redundancies
Employers are urged to avoid job losses by looking at other options for their employees:
- offer voluntary redundancy or early retirement;
- agree to flexible working;
- temporarily reduce working hours, known as short-time working;
- ask employees to stop working for a short time;
- retrain employees to do other jobs in your business;
- let go of temporary or contract workers;
- limit or stop overtime;
- to not hire any new employees.
Step 3: Follow the redundancy process
Employers should check their existing redundancy policy or to speak to our employment law specialists to have one created. If they do not have a redundancy policy then they can use the following as guidance:
- identification of roles which are affected and consideration of selection pools;
- communication about potential redundancies to each affected pool of employees;
- identification of redundancy selection criteria (e.g. skills, qualifications, disciplinary record, service, timekeeping);
- provisional selection of employees at risk of redundancy by assessment against the chosen criteria;
- individual consultation meetings (before and after the assessment exercise);
- consideration of redeployment of the employee to alternative employment within the business;
- dismissal, if the consultation does not result in redundancy being avoided and if no suitable alternative employment is found for the employee; and
- an appeal, if requested by the employee.
If your business has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) then you may be able to get funding from the government to continue to pay your employees using the Job Support Scheme instead of making them redundant.
Our employment law specialists at Tallents Solicitors are here to help employers through the redundancy process and ensure employees are treated fairly. We are also here to help employees who may be facing redundancy. You can call our Newark office on 01636 671881 to make a confidential appointment.