In the ever-changing landscape of business, employers in the United Kingdom sometimes find themselves facing the difficult task of making redundancies. Redundancies can be a challenging and emotional process for both employers and employees, but they are necessary to ensure the long-term viability of a business, and it is crucial to conduct them fairly and in accordance with UK employment law.
Before delving into the steps to conduct fair redundancies, it’s essential to understand what constitutes a genuine redundancy. In the UK, a redundancy situation may occurs when a role is no longer needed. Your employer should only consider making redundancies if part or all of the organisation is:
- closing, or has already closed
- changing the types or number of roles needed to do certain work
- changing location
when a job role is no longer needed due to economic, technological, or organisational reasons. Redundancies are not related to individual employee performance, which is an important distinction to keep in mind.
- Consultation: The first and most critical step is to engage in meaningful consultation with employees and their representatives, if needed. This process involves sharing the reasons for the redundancy and discussing potential alternatives. Depending on the number of redundancies, this consultation process may need to adhere to specific legal requirements, such as collective consultations for larger-scale redundancies.
- Selection Criteria: When selecting employees for redundancy, it’s imperative to use objective and non-discriminatory criteria. Common selection criteria include skills, qualifications, and experience. By utilising fair and transparent criteria, you reduce the risk of discrimination claims and maintain the trust of your workforce.
- Alternative Employment: Employers should make a genuine effort to explore alternative employment options within the organisation for affected employees. It includes offering them positions in other departments or locations if suitable roles are available. It not only helps retain valuable talent but also demonstrates your commitment to avoiding redundancies when possible.
- Redundancy Payments: Under UK law, employees made redundant are entitled to redundancy payments. These payments are calculated based on an employee’s age, length of service, and weekly earnings. Ensuring that you calculate these payments accurately and promptly is crucial to a fair process.
- Notice Periods: Employees must be given notice of their redundancy in accordance with their employment contracts. The length of the notice period will depend on their length of service. Providing employees with the appropriate notice allows them time to prepare for their departure.
- Consultation with Employee Representatives: If you’re considering 20 or more redundancies within a 90-day period, legal requirements for collective consultation apply. Consultation should involve discussing the reasons for the redundancies, the proposed number of employees affected, and any measures to mitigate the impact, such as retraining or redeployment.
- Support and Guidance: Throughout the redundancy process, it’s crucial to offer support and guidance to affected employees. It can include career advice,it’s important to allow employees time off work to attend interviews. You may wish to offer further assistance with job searching and explore trainign or retrainign opportunites.assistance with job searching, and access to any available training or retraining opportunities. Providing this support shows your commitment to helping employees transition to new opportunities.
Conducting fair redundancies in the UK is a challenging task, but it’s essential for maintaining your company’s reputation and complying with legal requirements. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a fair and transparent redundancy process that respects the rights and dignity of your employees.
Always remember that a well-handled redundancy can help safeguard your business’s future and protect the interests of your workforce.
If you need expert guidance on redundancy processes or have any specific legal questions, visit us today for a consultation with us today at www.davenportsolicitors.com or give us a call at +44 020 7903 6888.