As an employer, you have a responsibility to treat your employees fairly. This means keeping a good level of communication and respecting your employees’ rights at all times.
Employees’ rights become especially important when redundancies are made. A series of Redundancy Rights are in place to preserve the best interests of both parties in this situation.
The first major policy is that an employer should keep staff well informed at all times. Whilst it may come as a shock to some employees that their job has disappeared, they have a right to know what is going on and you have a role to play in offering them consultancy.
If making 20 or more employees redundant from the workplace within a 90 day period, it qualifies as a collective redundancy, and requires a minimum period of 30 days’ consultation; 90 days’ consultation for 100 or more redundancies. It is also your responsibility as the employer to notify the appropriate Redundancy Payments Office of your proposals before any termination notices are issued to employees.
A collective redundancy becomes necessary when a business or building closes, and thus the company no longer needs as many employees, or when there is a reorganisation or reallocation of work.
In the event that you need to make a collective redundancy it is important to consult the employees’ representatives first. It is an employee’s redundancy right to receive individual consultation.
With both collective and individual redundancies it is imperative that an employee is made aware of:
- Reasons for the proposed redundanciesNumber of posts affectedNumber and type of employees to be made redundant
- How selection will take place (i. e. basis for selection pools)
- Time period over which redundancies will be carried out
- How they have been selected
- Any alternatives to redundancy (i. e. relocation or redeployment within the company if applicable).
If you do not consult early enough or consult properly, there are penalties in the form of protective awards of up to 90 days' pay for each affected employee.
- You must use a fair and objective method for selecting employees for redundancy.
- If you make redundancies for reasons deemed unfair or without substantial evidence backing up the reasons, the employee has a right to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal. Selection criteria must be transparent.
- Redundancy should be a last resort for an employer; you should attempt to offer suitable alternatives to redundancy wherever possible.
- Consider offering redeployment in a different position within the same organisation
- You might also offer a redundant employee time off to seek alternative employment.
There are guidelines within redundancy rights that are used to calculate how much statutory redundancy pay, if any, a redundant employee is entitled to.
For more information visit our blog on Statutory Redundancy.