FIND YOUR VOICE (29)

Hi and welcome to another edition of FIND YOUR VOICE...

This article will be looking at redundancy, what is it and how it should be done.

Firstly a trend that we are seeing is one where companies that want to reduce staff numbers use the redundancy card. What we mean by this is a business will make the position redundant. As a result the person in the redundant position no longer has a job.

The business will then say that the employee can apply for a new position within the business but the old position has gone. More often than not the new position is identical in all but name to the position being made redundant. Chiefly the new position will require fewer members of staff to do the job or be on a lower rate of pay or have more responsibilities and duties. It can be an effective and efficient way of streamlining a company’s work force, if done correctly.

What we’re seeing is that many SME’s are misusing redundancy law which ultimately could lead to discrimination claims or claims for unfair dismissal.

Being made redundant is a process and definitely not an instant decision. Please see the ACAS guidance on redundancy. ACAS is the body that produces a code of conduct for all businesses that operate in the UK. This code incorporates UK employment law to produce its guidance. Here is what ACAS say;

As good practice employers may wish to consider establishing a formal redundancy procedure which should be negotiated and agreed with trade union or employee representatives. Full and effective consultation when drawing up a redundancy procedure will do much to allay unjustified fears, avoid the suspicion that redundancies are imminent and allow representatives to contribute their views and ideas. This procedure could be incorporated into the company handbook to ensure all employees are aware of it. Failure to follow a reasonable procedure could lead to employees making claims of unfair dismissal.

Depending on the size and nature of the company, the contents of a formal procedure on redundancy would normally contain the following elements:

  • an introductory statement of intent towards maintaining job security, wherever practicable

  • details of the consultation arrangements with trade union's or employee representatives

  • the measures for minimising or avoiding compulsory redundancies

  • general guidance on the selection criteria

  • details of the severance terms

  • details of any relocation expenses, details of any hardship or appeals procedures

  • policy on helping redundant employees obtain training or search for alternative work.

Measures for minimising or avoiding compulsory redundancies may include:

  • natural wastage

  • restrictions on recruitment

  • reduction of overtime

  • seeking applicants for voluntary redundancy.

What information must an employer disclose about proposed redundancies?

To ensure employee representatives can play a useful part in the consultation process over proposed redundancies your employer must disclose certain information in writing including:

  • reasons for the proposed redundancies

  • numbers and descriptions of employees affected

  • proposed method of selecting the employees who may be dismissed

  • proposed method of carrying out the dismissals, taking account of any agreed procedure, including the period over which the dismissals are to take effect

  • how redundancy payments, other than the legal minimum,

Thanks ACAS.

Employers should consult affected employees regarding the selection criteria.

The criteria must be consistently applied and be objective, fair and consistent. Basing any selection on skills or qualification will help to keep a balanced workforce appropriate to the organisation's future needs. Employers should also establish an appeals procedure.

Examples of such criteria are:

  • attendance record (you should ensure this is fully accurate and that reasons for and extent of absence are known).

  • disciplinary record (you should ensure this is fully accurate).

  • skills or experience.

  • standard of work performance.

  • aptitude for work.

Employees who are selected for redundancy must be given a notice period before their employment ends.

  • at least one week's notice if the employee has been employed between one month and two years

If you are unfortunately chosen for redundancy please make sure your employer has followed these steps. And as always don’t stay silent please,

FIND YOUR VOICE…


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