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Ethical redundancy and finding alternative employment

As a people-first employer, you’ll be planning to do what you can to make the redundancy process as pain-free as possible for employees. Exploring every avenue to avoid job cuts is a must and sometimes means redundancies can be avoided or at least reduced. Despite trying your best, and following fair selection, you might still need to make some of your people redundant. For employees facing job loss, by law, you must consider alternative employment within the business as a final lifeline.

Legally, you must make a reasonable effort to find them alternative employment. However, you’ll know that doing the right thing means making every effort possible. Less conscientious employers will direct employees to a list of vacancies to quickly and easily discharge their legal duty. While it may not be strictly unlawful, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to putting people first. So what does doing the right thing look like in practice?

Supporting employees to find alternative employment: The dos and don’ts of doing the right thing

Do:

  • Speak to the employee about their skills and experience and get their up-to-date CV. Get to know what their particular skills are, what they enjoy and where their interests lie so that you can focus your search.
  • Liaise with counterparts in other areas of the business about available roles and keep in touch in case a vacancy comes up. Where appropriate, speak to other companies in the group too.
  • Give employees as much information as possible on alternative roles to help them make an informed decision.
  • Allow time for interviews and assessments, especially if several people are going through the redundancy process and applying for the same roles.
  • Continue the search to the employee’s last date of employment. Your duty doesn’t end at the same time as the consultation period.
  • Consider delaying termination to allow time for an employee’s application for alternative employment to be determined.

Don’t:

  • Assume the employee won’t be interested in a role because of a reduced salary or status.
  • Rule out consultancy or part-time work without speaking to them.
  • Forget about employees not in the business. Those on maternity/shared parental/adoptive leave have an automatic right to be offered any suitable positions if their role is at-risk.
  • Be in a rush and force a quick decision about alternative roles. Build in enough time for employees to consider their options properly.
  • Automatically open applications for the entire workforce without considering at-risk employees first.
  • Forget to document your efforts in supporting an employee’s search for alternative employment. It’s helpful to have notes in case an employee questions your commitment or a tribunal becomes necessary.

Positive for business, positive for people

Our employment law solicitors help business owners like you make commercial changes legally while helping you uphold your principles and do the right thing by your people.

Call on 0808 252 5231 or request a call back for a free and confidential discussion with one of our employment law specialists.

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