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Redundancy Rights

Redundancy arises where a business chooses to close/relocate or shut down their business; where a specific workplace closes/relocates or an employer chooses to close a specific workplace or where an employer no longer needs as many employees to carry out a particular type of work.

This can be a daunting time for employees and the uncertainty over their future can be added to by a poor procedure carried out by their employers.

In general an employer must have a ‘genuine business need’ to make redundancies, i.e. one of the above grounds, and not be using a redundancy exercise as a method to, for example, get rid of a troublesome employee.  The employer must act fairly and reasonable in all of the circumstances and an Employment Tribunal (if matters progress to that stage) takes account of the “size and administrative resources” of the employer when determining if they have acted fairly in all of the circumstances.

Generally for a process to be fair an employer must inform and consult with staff at all stages of the process.  An employer should inform staff that there is potential redundancy situation before identifying and notifying the employees “at risk” of redundancy.

If multiple employees are at risk, an employer should generally identify a “redundancy selection pool” to objectively score employees against each other to determine those provisionally selected for redundancy.  The employee should be given the opportunity to view the criteria used, their score and be given the opportunity to query this and to come up with alternatives to redundancy.  Scoring criteria usually includes:

  • Length of service
  • Skills
  • Qualifications/training
  • Disciplinary record
  • Timekeeping

Criteria should be objective and the employer should be able to justify any criteria used and any weighting they give to a particular criterion.

An employer does not have to use a scoring pool and can instead enter the “at risk” employees into an interview pool for any vacancies – this can mean that the employer can be more subjective in their approach as the same rules as a competitive interview for any job apply – i.e. they can pick the candidate they think best for the job. This method of consultation is becoming increasingly popular.

During a redundancy process an employer must consult at all stages and consider any suitable alternative vacancies they may have for those employees at risk.

Employees require more than two years continuous service to be eligible for a redundancy payment.

Contact The McKinstry Company Employment Lawyers in Ayrshire & Dumfries and Galloway

If you are an employer or an employee with a query about redundancy, please contact us on 01292 388048 (Ayr office), 01465 915042 (Girvan office) or complete our online enquiry form and we’ll be back in touch.

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