Before getting started, I therefore urge every organisation to consider whether it is absolutely necessary. Is there anything at all you can do to avoid this? Your HR support will be able to help with this but some examples might include freezing recruitment, banning overtime, reducing costs and unnecessary spending in any way possible.
When there are no alternatives, or when these alternatives have been exhausted, spend time planning the process thoroughly. Don’t jump into this lightly, seek guidance and advice from an experienced HR professional and/or employment lawyer.
What is this going to cost you? Map it all out.
Do you wish to invite applications for voluntary redundancy. You don’t have to accept them, but you must make employees aware that their application will not necessarily be accepted. You may deem that loss of the particular employee’s skills and capabilities would be detrimental.
Where it is necessary to pool employees together and reduce headcount within that pool, you will need a suitable selection process. This must be on an objective basis and the criteria should be shared with affected employees and employee representative for comments and contributions.
There is a requirement to offer any suitable alternative roles to employees who are at risk of redundancy. It’s therefore critical to be aware of the alternatives that exist and have the credentials to hand so that they can be fully considered. It’s also useful to offer affected employees a trial period in alternative roles.
The process and its length will very much depend on how many employees are potentially affected.
Where under 20 employees are affected, consult on an individual basis. Although there is no statutory minimum period in relation to the length of consultation, a three-week period would be recommended as this allows sufficient time to undertake a meaningful process.
In such situations, the announcement would be the commencement of the redundancy consultation process.
Where 20 employees or more are affected, consult collectively with recognized trade unions representatives or employee representatives prior to any individual consultation taking place, and at least 30 days (45 days if the proposal is for 100 or more redundancies) must pass between the start of consultation and the first redundancy.
If you don’t recognize unions or have employee representatives, you’ll need to undertake a ballot and election process prior to commencing the redundancy consultation process.
In such circumstances, the election of employee representatives would follow on from the announcement meeting and the first collective consultation meeting would be the commencement of the redundancy consultation process.
Do not forget the importance of clear and informative communication throughout the process both for those directly affected and for their colleagues. It’s useful to plan a separate meeting with these employees directly after the announcement to affected employees. Notify them of the proposals and the situation that their colleagues are facing so that they can be mindful of this and supportive. It’s also a great opportunity to reassure these employees that their roles are safe and no further redundancy or restructuring processes are envisaged.
This is a very brief blog about the things that you need to consider in relation to the redundancy process. This is a complex area of employment law and therefore requires specialist guidance, advice, and knowledge to keep your organisation on the right side of the law. I urge any organisation considering making redundancies of any nature to consult with their HR Team or an independent HR Consultant and/or obtain legal advice from a qualified employment lawyer.Need HR Support? Learn more
Anna is a HR Consultant at StaffLeave, heading up our HR Services division, and likes to contribute ways to help you get the most of your holiday management, improve well-being and work-life balance.