AN EMPLOYEE’S GUIDE TO REDUNDANCY
Compulsory redundancy is a dismissal.
An employer proposing redundancies needs to devise and operate a fair procedure of selecting those to be made redundant. The employer will sometimes try to agree the procedure with a trade union or employee representatives.
Sometimes employers have a written procedure already set out in an employee handbook. Sometimes a procedure is only devised when redundancies need to be made.
It is normal to ask for volunteers before making anyone compulsorily redundant.
Solicitors are not usually allowed to accompany employees to redundancy consultation meetings and so normally we don’t become involved unless and until someone is dismissed and needs representation for an unfair dismissal claim. However if you are fully prepared for your redundancy meetings it is much more likely that you may be able to avoid being made redundant in the first place, or if the worst happens and you are dismissed, then you may have a better chance of showing that your selection for redundancy was unfair.
If the employer is considering making 20 or more people redundant they must consult with the trade union or elected employees’ representatives for at least 30 days (or a minimum of 45 days consultation where the employer is proposing to make 100 or more redundancies). Inadequate consultation may entitle those made redundant to a ‘protective award’ which can be up to 90 days pay if there is no consultation at all.
Selection for redundancy
Selection is usually based on a scoring system in which points are awarded under various criteria. The criteria are likely to include factors such as:
- timekeeping, and
- disciplinary record.
Criteria should be objective so far as possible to reduce the risk of disagreement about scores.
To avoid possible age discrimination length of service is usually not considered.
An employee being considered for redundancy will normally (but not always) be invited to two personal meetings.
The first meeting is to warn you that your job is potentially redundant. You do not have the right to take a colleague or trade union representative with you to this meeting but many employers will allow you to do so.
Make sure you know why it is your job that is at risk of redundancy and tell your employer if you think there are alternatives to redundancy (such as reduced hours or suitable alternative employment). Ask who else is being considered for redundancy. If you think some individuals or groups of workers should also be at risk let your employer know. If you are being compared with other employees make sure you understand on what basis selection for redundancy will be made. If you do not think the proposed selection process is fair, say so.
The second meeting is to tell you if you have been selected for redundancy. You are entitled to take a colleague or trade union representative with you to this meeting.
Ask if your employer has considered whether there are any alternative jobs. If your employer has assessed you as part of a redundancy selection process you should be told your scores. Ask for a copy of your score and the scores of anyone else with whom you have been compared. You may need the meeting to be adjourned to give you time to check the scores. If you think you have been incorrectly assessed or that someone else should have assessed you tell your employer why.
If you think that redundancy is not the real reason that you have been dismissed you must say so.
If You Think You Have Been Unfairly Selected For Redundancy
As a redundancy is a dismissal, you have the same right of appeal as if you had been dismissed for any other reason and the process for the appeal will be the same. Your employer should tell you how to appeal the decision.
Your letter of appeal should include all the points which you have made already that you think are still valid, plus any other points which you have thought of since.
The employer should then set a time for your appeal to be heard. You are entitled to take a colleague or trade union official with you to the appeal hearing to act either as a witness/note taker or as your representative.