Voluntary redundancy is a route recognised by tribunals as a way of lawfully avoiding compulsory job losses. Here’s what you need to know.
The opportunity to volunteer can be offered at any point – usually though, you would offer voluntary redundancy at the beginning of a process as those who volunteer will not need to be taken through the remaining process saving time and cost.
Why would an employee volunteer – avoiding the redundancy process is one incentive to volunteering, but usually you’ll need to offer a little more than that if employees are going to offer to leave. Whether it’s a lump-sum tax-free payment, payment in lieu of notice, or holiday pay rather than forcing individuals to take holiday during notice, you generally have the flexibility to offer a package that’s right for the business, but also tempting for employees.
Unfair dismissal – don’t forget that even if employees volunteer for redundancy, in law they’re classed as “dismissed” and so are still able to claim unfair dismissal. You, therefore, need to think carefully about how you frame the offer of voluntary redundancy. Be clear that you’re not prejudging the situation and ensure that your offer of voluntary redundancy doesn’t in any way discriminate against anyone with a protected characteristic.
Setting a deadline – usually a good idea! One of the big incentives for you to offer voluntary redundancy is that you’re unlikely to have to continue with the redundancy process for those volunteering. If however, you’re still going to have to go through the process then the longer their decision takes, the less benefit there is to you offering voluntary redundancy.
Pooling employees – if you’re doing so because you have more employees than roles available, think carefully before you offer voluntary redundancy (particularly if the voluntary redundancy offer comes before the scoring process). If individuals volunteer who you’d have preferred to keep, turning down their offer may show that you have prejudged the process and is likely to taint the rest of the discussions making successful unfair dismissal claims likely.
If you need advice or guidance on managing a redundancy process – Intelligent Employment is here to help. Find out how.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (10 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
A tribunal has awarded £420,000 in compensation following a successful sex-based harassment and victimisation claim by an employee disinterested in her manager’s advances.
A female employee was bombarded with inappropriate messages from her manager – including expressions of his feelings for her and peach emojis (widely known to refer to a person’s bottom). She’d refused his advances and raised a grievance. She resigned and suffered “significant and debilitating” post-traumatic stress disorder. The tribunal upheld her claims awarding £420,000 in compensation.
Impartial grievance process – the tribunal found the investigation into the employee’s grievance had labelled her as a “scheming femme fatale” and was predetermined to accept the manager’s explanation. Taking early advice as to who should carry out the grievance process to avoid further discrimination is vital. In the circumstances, the respondent may have been well advised to ask someone from outside of their business to carry out an impartial process.
Up-to-date policies – bullying, harassment and inclusivity policies must be dynamic and engaging (and up to date!). Tribunals are ready and willing to call out employers for out-of-date policies (as this recent case shows).
Training – tribunals expect regular and effective training on your bullying and harassment policies. They take a dim view of overly simplistic and superficial sessions – demonstrating a genuine commitment to tackling harassment is key.
Zero-tolerance – harassment without consequence only breeds a culture of acceptance…and potentially hefty tribunal awards! Even with the right policies and training in place, those tasked with dealing with grievances must be empowered and supported to act consistently and take robust action when required.
Being able to take early and effective advice right when you need it is why our Intelligent Employment is unlimited – find out more!
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (09 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
As part of keeping you in our focus, our ‘legal lightbulb’ update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law, and people trends. Here’s pt.2 for this month:
Repeal of retained EU employment laws
The government has introduced a bill to remove specific EU laws. The repeal bill could impact collective consultation requirements, TUPE, maternity and parental protections, working time and agency worker regulations. At this stage, it’s impossible to say what will change (if at all). Expect the detail in the coming months.
The gender pay gap for full-time employees has grown to 8.3% post-pandemic, up from 7.7% a year prior. The Office for National Statistics has suggested that these figures are likely still feeling the effects of the pandemic and a “longer-term” view should be taken. Thinking about recruitment long-term? It’s said 60% would not apply for roles where a pay gap exists.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (08 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
As part of keeping you in our focus, our ‘legal lightbulb’ update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law, and people trends. Here’s pt.1 for this month:
Employment law bills working through parliament
The government have backed a number of employment law bills which are working their way through parliament. The bills will either amend or introduce new employment rights when they come into force (dates to be confirmed). The bills cover:
Redundancy protection – currently, before making an employee redundant who is on maternity leave, you’re required to offer them a vacant, suitable alternative role in priority to anyone else selected for redundancy. The proposed bill means you’ll be required to offer this protection to the employee from the point you’re made aware of their pregnancy and up to six months after they return from maternity leave (where an employee has taken 52 weeks’ maternity leave). Similar rights will also apply to parents returning from adoption or shared parental leave.
Unpaid carer’s leave – providing a new entitlement for employees with caring responsibilities to take up to one week of unpaid leave each year to care for someone with an illness or injury (lasting at least three months), a disability, or old age.
Flexible working – creating a day-one right for employees to request flexible working arrangements. The bill also includes a more onerous consultation process before rejecting employee requests and a shorter timeframe (two months, instead of three) to reach a decision.
We’ll update you further when we know more about the detail and when the bills will come into effect.
This update is accurate on the date it was sent (03 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.