If you find that you’ve no alternative other than to proceed with a reduced headcount, as an employer you must first be aware of the impact of redundancy decisions.
The importance of legal compliance and following best HR practice can’t be underestimated. A breach of employment legislation can result in expensive litigation and considerable reputational damage.
Employers should ensure that staff are selected for redundancy fairly, and that there’s a genuine reason for it. This avoids exposure to claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination (there is no qualifying period or length of service for making a claim of discrimination).
Redundancy can be triggered by one of three situations:
- the closure of the business
- the closure of a workplace
- when the requirement for an employee to carry out work of a particular kind is no longer needed.
If there’s a change within your business strategy due to COVID-19, or if your business is unable to welcome back furloughed staff due to financial strain, this could also constitute a redundancy situation.
A redundancy process is never an easy or pleasant process for any party, but it’s even more challenging during these uncertain times. This means its important employers meaningfully consult with all employees who are potentially affected by redundancy. There’s no time limit for how long the period of consultation should be, but the minimum is:
- 20 to 99 redundancies - the consultation must start at least 30 days before any dismissals take effect
- 100 or more redundancies - the consultation must start at least 45 days before any dismissals take effect.
If there are less than 20 redundancies, there’s no fixed period of consultation you must adhere to, instead, it must be considered “meaningful”. In the event of a collective redundancy consultation, employers must also inform and consult with appropriate representatives.