It is a sad fact that in the coming months, employees are going to face job losses as a result of the difficulties for businesses on the High Street caused by successive lockdowns and the end of the government furlough scheme which has supported the wages of many millions in the last few months.
In such unprecedented times it is important for employers to remember that procedures must be followed to make someone redundant. A failure to do so could lead to a trip to the Employment Tribunal.
Redundancy is a form of dismissal from a job and happens when employers need to reduce their workforce. Employees facing redundancy may be eligible for things such as:
- redundancy pay
- a notice period
- a consultation with their employer
- the option to move to a different job
- time off to find a new job
Of particular relevance in the current market is the fact that employees have further specific rights if their employer is insolvent.
An employee must be selected for redundancy in a fair way. Examples of commonly used methods are:
- last in, first out (employees with the shortest length of service are selected first)
- asking for volunteers (self-selection)
- disciplinary records
- staff appraisal markings, skills, qualifications and experience
An employer can make an employee redundant without having to follow a selection process if the job no longer exists, for example, because the employer is closing down a whole operation and making all of the employees redundant.
An employee cannot be selected for redundancy due to factors such as age, gender, disability or pregnancy. This could be classed as an unfair dismissal.
The whole landscape has become even more complex with the advent of the furlough scheme. If someone was made redundant due to Covid 19, they could possibly be re-employed and paid 80% of their wages under the scheme.
The above is only an outline of some of the key considerations. It is fair to say that many employers will find the combination of a downturn in business and having to lay off staff as a toxic combination. Whether an employer who is seeking to fairly make staff redundant or an employee who is facing redundancy, taking specialist advice would be a wise precaution.
To discuss this or any other employment related matter, contact us.