Reorganisation, restructure and redundancy are an increasingly normal part of the business life cycle. As a business owner or HR professional, it is important that you follow the correct procedure when making members of staff redundant.
We answer some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the redundancy process.
How to tell an employee that they are being made redundant?
Be aware that this is likely to be a stressful time for your employees, so care should be taken at every stage of a redundancy procedure.
- Do not reach any definitive conclusions at the outset of the consultations, otherwise, this is likely to render the procedure unfair, putting you at risk of an unfair dismissal claim.
- Be open to suggestions the employee(s) may make, and do not reject them out of hand.
- Only confirm redundancy after a full consultation process and, when doing so, offer the employee the right to appeal the decision, as this may be an opportunity to rectify any procedural errors that could have occurred.
How soon after making someone redundant can I hire for that role?
Redundancy occurs where an employer has a reduced need for somebody to carry out a particular role, where a particular workplace is closing, or where the business as a whole is closing. An employer’s decision to confirm a role as redundant can only be made on the basis of information reasonably available to the business at the time, so theoretically, if the circumstances change immediately after an employee has been made redundant, it may be reasonable to hire for that role at that point (although an employer should consider offering the role to an employee who had been made redundant).
Can I make someone redundant if they are unable to return to the main place of work following the relaxation of Coronavirus restrictions?
If the role exists, but the employee cannot attend to do the work, then the role is not redundant and such dismissal would be unsafe. You need to be careful if you wish to dismiss an employee who cannot attend work, as it may be because of a protected characteristic (such as a disability or illness). If the employee is choosing not to return to work it is important to get advice on alternative fair reasons for dismissal to mitigate the risk of a claim against you, such as conduct.
Tina Din, associate in our Employment Law team, comments:
Redundancy is a costly exercise, from a financial, emotional, and time perspective. All options should be considered when looking to avoid them.
With the furlough scheme coming to an end it is now easier to make adjustments to contracts, if the employee agrees.
If you have any questions about the redundancy process and need legal advice, please contact our Employment Law for Employers.