Deciding to make staff redundant is a process that no employer wants to go through, but by ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and appropriate procedures are followed, you can make sure that a difficult decision doesn’t become a painful process.
Redundancy comes in a number of forms, you may only be looking at making one member of staff redundant as their position is no longer needed in the business, or you may be considering beginning redundancy procedures for a pool of employees after losing a key contract for example. Whatever the situation it’s vital that you obtain legal advice and support from an experienced employment solicitor.
In small and medium sized businesses, it’s important to make sure that any redundancy processes are fair and that staff potentially at risk of redundancy are selected carefully. As a first step it’s advisable to try to avoid compulsory redundancies. This can be done in a variety of ways including seeking applicants for voluntary redundancy or early retirement, introducing flexible working, restricting recruitment, and avoiding casual and freelance workers. Wherever possible it’s also good to consider whether redundant staff can be utilised elsewhere in your business.
If none of these solutions work and your business still needs to make compulsory redundancies you must advise all potentially affected staff with an ‘at risk’ letter. In cases of large scale redundancies, you also need to notify the redundancy payments service. You are also required to consult individually with every employee who is at risk of redundancy. In addition to providing an opportunity for the employee to express their own thoughts and come up with possible alternatives, it also shows the affected employees that they are important and are being kept fully up to date with the situation that you face.
If you are selecting employees from a redundancy pool, you need to make sure that you use a fair selection criteria. These selection criteria can include, skills and qualifications, disciplinary records, attendance and performance. It is paramount that whatever process you use, you can demonstrate it was fair and reasonable.
If you simply opt for ‘last in first out’ process you may end having to justify before an Employment Tribunal it was a fair selection procedure should an employee subsequently bring an unfair dismissal claim.
Once you have completed the selection process and made the decision of which employees will be made redundant, you then need to have a further meeting with them to inform them of the decision. You then need to follow up with a letter confirming your decision and give clear reasons. The employee should also be given the right to appeal the decision.
Any worker who is dismissed on the grounds of redundancy following two years’ continuous service is entitled to:
Our team of employment lawyers are here to help you through every step of any redundancy processes.
Hi Jay, just wanted to say thank you for the help that Jarmans have given my friend L G who I referred to you. You have been so helpful and supportive.
Another great job thank you!