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Restructures, redundancy and re-shaping roles series

Redundancy series update #9 – suitable alternative employment

Posted on: September 17th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Following a fair process, once you’ve confirmed there’s no other option but to make the individual’s role redundant, the next step is to consider suitable alternative roles that you have available.

Here’s what you need to know:

Compare and contrast – the suitability of a role is determined by comparing the individual’s current role with the new role available. Salary, place of work, skills required and aptitude for the role are all factors you can use to determine whether the available role is a suitable alternative.

Be specific – it’s not good enough just to give the employee a list of available roles – you need to search out the roles that could be suitable alternatives.

Bigger picture – if you’re part of a group of companies, your search for suitable alternatives should be group-wide.

First in line – if the individual at risk is on maternity leave, they must be offered the suitable alternative role ahead of any other individual who might also be suitable for the role.

If you need support in determining whether you have suitable alternatives available or how to compare two roles, get in touch for our expert advice. In update #10 we’ll be looking at ending the redundancy consultation process.

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (17 September 2020), 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.

Redundancy series update #8 – fair selection criteria

Posted on: September 7th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Once you have your pool of ‘at risk’ employees, you’ll need to decide your criteria for selecting employees from that pool.

Fairness, objectivity, and consistency are the backbone of a lawful selection process. Here are our thoughts:

Objective, measurable selection criteria – selection criteria that isn’t objective or measurable is likely to result in an unfair dismissal. If you’d like to know how to access our suggested selection criteria, click here. Ensure that you consult on the selection criteria that you’d like to use so that each individual has the opportunity to have their say before scoring starts.

Avoid discriminatory selection criteria – criteria based on length of service, absence or flexibility could be considered discriminatory on the grounds of age, disability or sex respectively. Ensure that you make adjustments so that the criteria do not prejudice those with protected characteristics, or avoid using them entirely.

Fair scoring – ensure that your selection criteria feature on a scoring matrix with clear parameters as to the score that will be awarded. Ideally ensure that any score is justified with evidence as to why it has been awarded.

Verification of manager scores – ensure a manager with the ability to find evidence or measure the individual against the selection criteria carries out the initial scoring. Their scores should be verified by another manager or their manager with knowledge of the employee to ensure that the scoring matrix has been applied fairly and consistently.

Consult about scores – individuals have the right to hear the scores that they have been given, the evidence as to why the score was awarded and the break point they had to achieve to avoid redundancy. They have the right to challenge the scores possibly resulting in re-scoring if there is merit to their objections.

If you’re concerned that you don’t have good enough people processes currently in place to be able to identify objective, measurable selection criteria, get in touch for advice on how to develop those processes. In update #9 of this series, we’re looking at suitable alternative employment. 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (08 September 2020), 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.

Redundancy series update #7 – when do you need to pool?

Posted on: September 1st, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

When you have more employees than the roles available, you may need to ‘pool’ those employees carrying out the at risk roles to fairly decide who remains at risk.

It’s usually the case that you’ll want to restrict the pool as much as possible. Here are our thoughts:

Be clear on the roles at risk – identifying which roles need to be pooled isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Do you have different job titles or job descriptions for the same roles, have job titles and job descriptions not been amended to keep up with the roles individuals are actually doing? This all needs to be considered.

Identify the individuals carrying out the pooled roles – do a number of individuals interchange between different roles as they have a wide skill set? In which case would it be reasonable to include all such individuals within the pool.

Consider individuals at other sites doing the same at risk roles – where individuals move around sites and all do the role that is at risk, consider whether each of those individuals needs to be pooled.

Bumping – if you haven’t heard of ‘bumping’ you’ll need to learn fast! Bumping occurs where an at risk employee is retained in favour of an employee who isn’t at risk (usually as they have better skills for the retained role). While there is no obligation to bump, you need to consider whether it’s appropriate to do so and make a note of your thought process.

Consult – once you’ve decided on your pool, you’ll need to ensure that you discuss the pool with at risk individuals before going ahead and applying a selection criteria. A fair redundancy process includes giving individuals the right to challenge the pool before scoring at risk individuals.

Get in touch if you need support or advice on who to include in your pool. In update #8 of this series, we’re going to be looking at creating fair selection criteria. 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (01 September 2020), 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.

Redundancy series update #6 – adapting to remote consultation

Posted on: August 26th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Without doubt, consulting remotely is more challenging than face to face conversation. Whether it’s adjustments for disabled employees, poor WiFi connections or challenges with engagement, they all need to be considered in advance.

Here are our top tips to communicating and consulting through a redundancy process:

Make sure your first redundancy announcement is face to face – whether a video or group online meeting, it’s important everyone is told together about proposals for redundancies and they see you’re taking responsibility for your decisions.

Pre-empt technical issues – check the tech, ensure everyone has access to good WiFi, consider alternatives for those with tech challenges including in person meetings, more time for preparation and whether telephone calls would be better for some.

Companion challenges –it can be difficult to arrange a companion when everyone is attending the office so it’s an even greater challenge when individuals are working remotely. Think about how individuals at risk will make contact with their preferred companion, how they can discuss matters in advance of any meetings and where it proves too difficult, what support you can offer the individual with arranging their companion.

Creating a quiet space and time – personal challenges haven’t disappeared. Ensure that those with responsibilities at home are able to create time and space for a redundancy consultation meeting rather than multi-tasking.

Make time for absent employees – whether absence is due to furlough, ill health or family related leave, all employees must have been consulted with where they are at risk (and even if they’re not they’ll want to understand about major changes within your organisation).

Note meetings – while recording the meeting (with advance consent) is fine, our view is a recording can alter the tone of the meeting meaning managers are on edge and employees don’t communicate as they normally would. Having a note-taker is traditionally the route to a record of the meeting and still works well even if the meeting is remote

Get in touch if you need to discuss your remote consultation arrangements, or if you have any questions on what we’ve covered. In update #7 of this series we’re going to look at pooling employees appropriately. 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (27 August 2020), 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.

Redundancy series update #5 – should you be asking for volunteers?

Posted on: August 20th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

Voluntary redundancy is a route recognised by tribunals as a way of lawfully avoiding compulsory job losses. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. It can be offered at any point – voluntary redundancy can be offered at any point in the redundancy process. 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.
  2. Why 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 flexibility to offer a package that’s right for the business, but also tempting for employees.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Always seek advice before offering voluntary redundancy to ensure you’re doing so fairly, and reducing the risk of possible unfair dismissal claims. In update #6 of this series, we’re going to look at pooling employees appropriately. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (20 August 2020), 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.