Redundancy law and advice for employers

Our specialist redundancy lawyers are able to assist in all aspects of redundancy law, including a business re-organisation. In some situations, a re-organisation may not result in a redundancy situation and an employer may not have to make costly redundancy payments.

Alternatives to redundancy

There are various alternatives to redundancy which could include short term or long term measures for example:

  • Reduce headcount by removing temporary workers, withdrawing job offers, retraining and re-deployment;
  • Consider temporary measures such as temporary lay off, sabbaticals, unpaid leave or holidays; and/or
  • Change terms such as reducing remuneration and/or benefits, or pay freezes.

All of the above are likely to involve some risk and it is advisable to arrange a consultation with our redundancy lawyers to discuss the potential risks and processes.

Redundancy situations

The following are examples of when a redundancy situation may occur:

  • Employer decides to close their whole business;
  • Employer decides to close a part of a business or an office;
  • The requirements of the employer change and they no longer need employees to carry out work of a particular kind; or
  • The requirements of the employer change and they no longer need employees to carry out work of a particular kind at a particular place.

Redundancy Process

Employers must follow a fair process including the following:

  1. Warn all employees that could be affected by the potential redundancy situation (either using group or individual meetings);
  2. Consider selection pools (group of employees who do the same or similar role). It is possible to have a selection pool of one;
  3. Decide and consider fair and objective selection criteria (attendance, performance, flexibility, time keeping) in order to select employees from a selection pool;
  4. Hold individual consultation meetings with employees selected for redundancy. Allow the employee to make any suggestions on how to avoid redundancy. The consultation must be meaningful and the decision of which employees are being selected for redundancy must not be made prior to these meetings.
  5. Consider employee suggestions on avoiding redundancy and followed up with the employee;
  6. Be aware of strict time limits for consultation periods where more than 20 roles are at risk of redundancy.
  7. Consider suitable alternative employment as an alternative to redundancy. A role is only likely to be a suitable alternative if it involves the same location, and rate or pay. In addition, consider whether a person selected for redundancy should be bumped into a different role.

How many redundancies being proposed?

It is important to note the following minimum redundancy consultation requirements:

  • Fewer than 20 redundancies proposed: no time limits for length of consultation.
  • 20 to 99 redundancies proposed within 90 days: consultation must last for 30 days.
  • 100 or more redundancies proposed: consultation must last for 45 days.

Notice Periods

In a redundancy situation and before serving notice the employer must consult with the employees.  If redundancy is confirmed, be aware of the legal minimum notice requirements that employers must serve to employees:

  • Between one month and two year’s employment: one week.
  • After two complete years: 1 week for each year worked up to a maximum of 12 weeks notice.

The above minimum notice periods will apply unless the employment contract offers a more generous notice period.

How can we help your business?

We understand that every business is different and would advise that employers contact our redundancy lawyers at the earliest opportunity when considering making redundancies.

We will fully explain the procedure to you and can provide you with all of the documents you will need to ensure the procedure is followed correctly, minimising the risk of receiving tribunal claims.

We also offer the option to can run the procedure and all meetings on your behalf.

Our Experts

Kate Brooks

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services

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Hannah Roberts

Paralegal

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Rebecca Bennett

Solicitor

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