6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

IS A SUCCESSFUL REDUNDANCY PROGRAMME REALLY THAT DIFFICULT?

PUBLISHED: 11:46 03 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:27 20 February 2013

IS A SUCCESSFUL REDUNDANCY PROGRAMME REALLY THAT DIFFICULT?

IS A SUCCESSFUL REDUNDANCY PROGRAMME REALLY THAT DIFFICULT?

For most people, it's the season to be jolly. For some employers, it's the time when cashflow and business forecasts dictate that making redundancies may become a business reality.

IS A SUCCESSFUL REDUNDANCY PROGRAMME REALLY THAT DIFFICULT?

For most people, its the season to be jolly. For some employers, its the time when cashflow and business forecasts dictate that making redundancies may become a business reality. No one wants to, so maybe thats why so many get it wrong, but there is no need to make the most common mistakes.

As an employment law practitioner, I am often surprised at the number of companies who get financially penalised for getting redundancy wrong. I probably read about two or three a week in this region, and the awards to employees are usually between about 5,000 and 20,000. Therefore its not a mistake you can be casual about.

Its really not that complicated. As far as making the initial decision to reduce staff, a tribunal will not interfere with an employers business plan. Regardless of how foolish a decision may look, regardless of how obvious to others that a business will not cope with a fewer number of employees, a tribunal is not allowed to judge the employers business reasoning.

Once you get past this basic concept the whole thing starts to look a little clearer. The next basic principle is that an employer must not make the FINAL decision until the staff have been given a chance to understand what is happening and comment upon the plans. Employers dont have to agree with employees comments, they simply have to listen to them and think about them. Once an employer has done this, then the employer is free to carry on as originally planned. Often the key to this in practice is use of the word proposal. So many employers ask the question, If I cannot have made the final decision, how can I ask staff about the decision? The answer is simple. The employer must ask about the proposal to make redundancies. It doesnt become a final decision until opinions, (if any) have been gathered and considered.

The other main stumbling block is who should go. An employer is not permitted to simply choose the person they dont like. Often it will be simple. If there is only one person doing the job that is going to go, then in most cases the choice is made for you. So you have to identify the job that is going. For example, Sales Rep. If you are in this position then you should be able to outline what is happening to that role. It may be being outsourced, it may be being split up between the sales director and the managing director for example, or you may decide that you simply dont need the role anymore. Ask the potentially redundant employee if they can do the new bigger job of Sales Director, and if they clearly could not do the role, then you can move on.

If there are more than one in the role, but you do not need to lose all of them, then you will need to select. Again selection is straightforward. You draw up a list of the skills required for the job, and score each employee according to the role requirements. The worst score will be redundant. Procedurally, you show the skills list to the employees (all of them) before marking and ask for their comments. Again this is a proposed list until you have heard their comments. Once marked, show the selected person their score and ask for their comments before finalising the matter.

Once you know who is going, then you invite them to a meeting to terminate their employment. Just as you would for a disciplinary meeting, you give the employee notice, tell them they can be accompanied by a colleague, and give them the right to appeal.

Of course there are nuances and considerations along the way, but there is no need to make the simple and avoidable errors that cost employers so much money on a regular basis. Clearly if redundancies are on the cards, paying for a little expert advice up front may well save you pots of cash, just at a time when you could do without financial penalties. Not to mention the time and energy that goes into defending a tribunal that is usually totally unnecessary.

Its not a nice thing to do, at any time of year. If you have to do it, you have already recognised that for the benefit of a whole business sometimes, one or two must go. So get the process right, and have a very happy Christmas.

Darren Sherborne is a Partner at niche employment law practice Sherbornes LLP of Cheltenham.


0 comments

More from Cotswold Life

11:00

Tom and Louise are being joined by other new academic appointments that have been made as part of the RAU’s £2.5 million initiative to help meet the future needs of the land management and agri-food sectors

Read more
10:46

“To win this prestigious award is a real compliment to the wider team in Renishaw’s manufacturing services operation, particularly when we consider the achievements of the other excellent shortlisted companies.”

Read more
Yesterday, 17:16

Stepping up to receive the world’s first MBA Leading Business degrees at the ceremony were Sarah Bryars, Chief Executive of Target; Luke Freeman, Joint Chief Executive of MF Freeman; and Linsey Temple, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Engineering Training

Read more
Yesterday, 17:04

“I am thrilled to see InfoSec People win this fantastic award which is a testament to the brilliant team we have built in the past few years.”

Read more
Yesterday, 16:36

After a stress-free shopping experience browsing designer brands this Christmas? Look no further than the luxury offerings of Mailbox in Birmingham

Read more
Yesterday, 10:24

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book The Snowman. With three performances of the animated film – with live orchestra – coming to Gloucester Cathedral next month, we thought we’d catch up with Rachel Whibley, managing director of Carrot Productions (and occasional snowman), to find out more...

Read more
Mon, 14:10

It’s the season of terrible puns, magic lamps, and generous genies: Aladdin, the all-new panto at the Everyman, has been written by none other than legendary Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and stars everyone’s favourite clown, Tweedy. The Barnard family from Nailsworth - mum, dad, Harriet (12) and Lewis (6) - made a Wishee (Washee) for tickets; grabbed their car (Window Twan) keys; and dashed off to see A Ladd In Cheltenham

Read more
Mon, 13:45

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more

Christmas in the Wilson household is a heartwarming, traditional family affair

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 13:09

Veganism is the latest food trend to hit the Cotswolds but it’s something we can all enjoy a bite of

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Mon, 12:21

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in the Cotswolds

Read more
Mon, 09:13

Alleviate the stress of hectic Christmas preparation and endless shopping trips with a festive afternoon tea in one of these gorgeous Cotswold settings

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search