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Sadly, as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions and the end of the furlough scheme, some employers are going to have to make redundancies. For an employer, it is important to get the process right. Getting it wrong could result in a successful unfair dismissal claim.
The definition of a redundancy is where the work being carried out by the employee has ceased or diminished or their place of work has closed. A redundancy is a form of dismissal. For a redundancy dismissal to be fair you must follow a process of consultation, selection, dismissal and consideration of dismissed employees for any suitable alternative employment.
If you intend to make 20 or more employees redundant within a period of 90 days you must consult appropriate trade union or elected representatives before taking any steps. Employees can complain to the Employment Tribunal about a failure to consult properly and penalties can be imposed. Consultation must last 30 days before notice to terminate employment is given.
If you are making less than 20 employees redundant, the process can be shorter, but you must allow reasonable time for the employees to consider their position.
Consultation should start with a meeting with your employees to explain to them the reason you are considering making redundancies. Make clear that no decisions have yet been made as to whether to make compulsory redundancies, and you want to hear from them with any proposals they have to avoid redundancies. You may wish to offer to accept voluntary redundancies.
If you have no volunteers, or do not offer voluntary redundancy, you will invite your employees to a second meeting, where you will listen to any proposals they may have to avoid redundancies. They may suggest working less hours, reductions in pay or other viable alternatives, in which case redundancies may not be necessary.
However, having gone through this consultation process, if you still consider that redundancies are necessary, you then need to confirm this to the workforce. If there is more than one candidate for redundant role you must go through a fair selection process to decide who would be made redundant.
In selecting individuals to be made redundant, you need to be able to justify your decisions on objective grounds. It is normal for there to be a set of criteria against which you mark your respective employees.
Once selected you will need to advise the individual employees by letter of their selection and the termination of their employment on the ground of redundancy. However, you must also consider if there is any suitable alternative employment and advise the employee of any roles. You do not need to create a role. If an employee takes up such employment, they are no longer redundant, and will remain your employee.