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Posts Tagged ‘redundancy’

Job insecurity is at its highest since the recession started and staff morale is at its lowest since records began says the CIPD in a UK employment law and HR poll of over 200 employees.

21% of employees in the private sector think their employer is planning redundancies while that figure soars to 58% in the public sector; 29 % in the voluntary sector and 10% in the private sector.

For those employers who do plan to make redundancies it is advisable to speak with a UK employment law expert first as there is a procedure that must be followed in order to avoid unfair dismissal claims.

Even if employers don’t plan to make redundancies in the short term, they will benefit by addressing low staff morale and engendering a sense of job security wherever possible because the poll also found that the percentage of staff looking for a new job also increased from 19 to 24 per cent overall.

In UK employment law and HR terms, the risks and costs associated with hiring replacement staff makes it well worth the time spent on keeping the staff you already have. More on this story from TAEN the organisation that specialises in Age and Employment.

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The answer will depend on whether there is some overlap between the roles and/or whether or not the remaining post will pick up some of the orphaned tasks after the other job has been made redundant.

If so, there is a need to place both employees in the pool even though only one job is at risk and even though both jobs have different titles/levels of seniority.

Job titles shouldn’t dictate who is in the redundancy pool. Answers to the question ‘who does what?’ are far more important.

If there is a significant overlap between two or more employees’ workload then it would be unfair to place only one of them in the pool.

If employers are seeking to make cost savings by cutting a senior role and require the junior role to pick up some of the slack, and/or the senior employee could do the junior role, then discuss the pool with the affected employee before you make a decision.

If the senior employee is willing to accept the reduced pay and benefits package attached to the junior role then you can apply the practice known as ‘bumping’ where the first employee (whose post is made redundant)  ‘bumps’ a second employee out of their role so that the second employee is made redundant instead of the first. It seems unfair but it is designed to ensure that organisations can retain the best staff rather than become slaves to procedure.

So, if the senior employee wants to be considered for the junior role, then both the senior and junior employee should be in the pool before you make the senior role redundant.

Fulcrum Pharma (Europe) Ltd v Bonassera (EAT) decided similar facts in November last year and underlined the need for employers to ask employees whether they would consider taking a lower paid post before confirming the ‘pool’. The failure to properly consult over these issues with Ms Bonassera resulted in an unfair dismissal finding against the employer.

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A male employee challenged the special treatment given to a colleague during a redundancy selection and argued that his employer had acted ‘disproportionately’. He claimed that during the firm’s consultation he had been treated less fairly than his female colleague, who was given full marks on certain performance criteria despite being on maternity leave during the consultation period.

This week the Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with his argument and you can find more case details at The Lawyer.

If employers have to reduce employee numbers and there are at least two employees in the pool, one female on maternity leave and a male colleague, then this case may suggest that employers use proportionate scoring methods rather than awarding the female employee top marks as a knee jerk reaction. More will be revealed as commentaries emerge in coming weeks.

Quite the opposite was happening in this case of redundancy selection for reasons of maternity where bosses decided a woman with young children wouldn’t be able to ‘put in the hours’ required by the job!

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BBC News – Legislation to cap civil service payouts expected. If this had been there own company there is no way they would have agreed to give 6 years pay for redundancy packages. It is scandalous that tax payers money is frittered like this. I wonder if the decision is open to judicial review?

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The Duchess of York has unceremoniously sacked her staff to save £60,000 per month in salaries…allegedly.  I hope she consulted with them first! Anyway, Fergie is consoling herself with a trip to Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Nice work if you can get it. More

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An employee of ours is on sick leave and I have plans for restructuring which mean her job would no longer exist. Would there be risks attached to restructuring while she is away?

It is advisable to conduct the consultation with the employee when she returns to work, however, if that is impractical then you can conduct the consultation with her while she is on sick leave, but be very careful that you are not selecting this particular employee for reasons of her being disabled. There is no specific period for consultation but it is advisable to ensure that you give her time to respond in writing to your consultation letters.

Redundancy is, in effect, a dismissal and so the employee should be afforded the right to know why you are considering making her job redundant; to discuss the pros and cons of any decision before it is made; to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union official; and to appeal your final decision.

Remember that consultation is a ‘two-way’ process so provide the means for her to respond where appropriate. It’s all about keeping the employee informed and giving her full rights to consultation even though she is on sick leave. It is advisable to send letters by recorded delivery and if you don’t receive a response, try other routes to contact her. Whatever you do, don’t just send a redundancy notice through the post!

Check your Redundancy Managers Toolkit on your ELE web service for different rules where several jobs will be made redundant within a given period.

Carolyn

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