Sorry for my absence over the last few days, fee earning work has gone crackers. There has definitely been a real shift and most businesses are now looking at restructuring their staffing structures and reducing head count, which means one thing – redundancies. Have a look at our Coronavirus hub and back a few months now, I did a webinar which is a useful over view on the redundancy process to follow – click here to access it. My top tip here is take the time to plan your process, you won’t regret it. It is so easy to get lost in the detail and complexities when you dive headlong into a redundancy process and you will soon come unstuck if you haven’t got a rough plan and timetable to start with. I wouldn’t for one minute be foolish enough to think that you will be able to stick to that plan and timetable – employment law throws far too many curve balls for that, but at least you have a Plan A, from which you can develop Plan B, Plan C, D E, F …..etc! When planning your process identify what type of process you need to fol
The key question here is – are you removing a role entirely or are you just reducing the numbers employed in that role? The answer to this question will shape the process that you need to follow in order for it to be considered fair, and so you don’t get unfair dismissal claims landing at your doorstep (the last thing we all need!)
If you are removing a role entirely it doesn’t matter whether there is one person in that role or 20 (except for collective consultation purposes!) the process that you would follow would be the same. Essentially you don’t need a selection criteria. Ponce the proposal to remove the role is confirmed then you look at how you can continue those employees’ employment with you and you jump straight to alternative employment. There is no selection so no selection criteria needed.
If you are selecting from a pool, and just removing a portion of the roles, then it is important you have an objective selection criteria and you apply it fairly. Tell them what the proposed selection criteria is when you tell them what the proposal is…let them have their say on it. It makes it much harder for an employee to later come to you and say they feel the criteria were unfair, if you have given them the chance to comment on it and they didn’t. The sticky phase with selection criteria isn’t usually the criteria itself, but the scoring – most employees will disagree with their scores. So, how do you make this as robust as possible? Top tip here – have all scored moderated. Get them scored by the line manager initially and then moderated by someone else with an operational knowledge of those employees, to ensure that the scoring is fair and consistent. This doesn’t take much longer in terms of time, but will take you strides ahead in terms of a fair selection process.
No doubt any redundancy exercise can be complex, but particularly if the process is large scale. If you are proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees at one establishment over a 90 day period then you will also trigger the obligation to collectively consult with employee representatives. This often strikes fear into the heart of employers who then shy away from it. It needn’t! I am going through collective consultation in the F-Word this week, Thursday at 9.30am, so click here to join us and you will come away a whiz. Please also remember that sometimes changing contracts of employment triggers this broad definition of redundancy. So, if your business is looking at making seismic changes, join us on Thursday at 9.30am.