WITH JOB uncertainty on the rise, solicitor Andrea Corr, from Blandy and Blandy Solicitors’ employment law team, has explained the process of redundancy and answered common questions employees may have.
Redundancy, Ms Corr said, most commonly happens when an employer has a reduced need for work of a particular kind, or work at a particular location.
She said: “This can range from an entire closure of the workplace to restructuring or reorganisation.”
When someone is placed ‘at risk’, Ms Corr said this is usually when an employer is thinking of making redundancies and wants to formally notify the staff beforehand.
“It is usually around the beginning of the consultation process,” she said. “Employers are required to consult employees in order to discuss their proposals and to discuss ways in which redundancies may be avoided, or reduced.
“Depending upon how many employees are expected to be affected, consultation may take place on either a collective basis, with elected staff representatives, or directly with the affected individuals.”
Ms Coor explained that there is no template process for selecting staff for redundancy, but that a legal requirement is that the process must be reasonable.
This could include scoring or assessing groups of affected staff.
And this can be done while a member of staff is on furlough.
She added: “You may be entitled to be considered for a suitable alternative role if one exists. However, there is no requirement for your employer to create another role.
“If you are currently on maternity leave we suggest that you take advice about your situation as you are generally entitled to preferential treatment in respect of any role which does exist.”
At the end of the consultation, the employer tells the affected staff what will happen next.
This could be a notice of termination of employment, or actually terminating the job, with payment in lieu of notice.
Ms Corr warned that employers are able to make their staff redundant before the end of the coronavirus job retention scheme — but this must be done following a reasonable process, including consultation periods.
“Your notice period can run during furlough,” she added. “Your employer is not obliged to wait until the end of the scheme before serving notice.”
And the notice period may not be at full pay.
Ms Corr added: “It may be at full pay but this depends upon the interaction between your contractual notice period and the minimum notice to which you are entitled by law.
“You will therefore need advice about your own individual situation. Alternatively, employers may choose to offer notice pay at full pay.”