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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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