So, what five mistakes do employers commonly make when handling redundancies? As well-known retailers and restaurants close down and disappear from our high streets with Homebase, House of Fraser, Toys R Us, Homebase and Prezzo among the latest companies to suffer. More and more businesses face closures or reductions in staff numbers to cope with financial losses.
One mistake is to start collective redundancy consultation too late. Sometimes this is because those at the top retain hope that business will improve or do not want staff to see the company is in trouble.
Employers’ collective redundancy consultation obligations are triggered once they are proposing to make 20 or more redundancies at one establishment, within a period of 90 days or less.
Consultation must begin in good time. You must start consultation 45 days before the first dismissals if 100 or more employees are affected at the same establishment. If 20-99 employees are likely to be made redundant, start consultation 30 days before the first dismissal.
The collective consultation should be completed before you provide employees with notices of termination of employment.
The second is not conducting a meaningful redundancy consultation. Some employers see the process of consulting with staff over redundancies as a box-ticking exercise. They don’t realise that there should be a genuine dialogue about the proposals.
Union representatives must be consulted about ways of avoiding redundancies, reducing the number of redundancies, and mitigating the consequences of redundancy.
Overall, you must approach the consultation with an open mind and be prepared to consider employees’ views. If ways of avoiding or reducing the number of redundancies are put forward, these should be properly considered. Don’t dismiss them out of hand.
The third is not informing and consulting on an individual basis. Individual consultation with employees remains essential, even where your obligation to consult collectively has been triggered.
Individual consultation involves you explaining to each employee the basis on which they have been provisionally selected for redundancy. Giving the employee the opportunity to express their views, raise any questions, and discuss any alternatives to redundancy is an important part of the process. Individual consultation processes must be finished before an employee is given notice of termination of employment. Serving notice before completing an individual consultation, you put yourself at risk of an unfair selection for redundancy claim being made against you in an employment tribunal.
Failing to consider alternative employment for redundant employees is the fourth mistake. One of the most significant things that an employer does to minimise potential unfairness is to explore whether there are any suitable vacancies.
Being open minded about alternative positions and not assuming that employees would not be willing to relocate. The safest course of action is to provide employees with details of all vacant positions.
You aren’t obliged to create new jobs for redundant employees. However, making an employee redundant without considering alternative employment increases the risk of an unfair dismissal tribunal claim being made against you.
The fifth and final mistake is forgetting your employees who are left behind following redundancies. You should never underestimate the impact that redundancies have on staff who remain behind. A failure to support redundancy survivors can be fatal to the success of a reorganisation.
Involving employees affected by redundancies in the redundancy consultation exercise is really important. Even if those individuals aren’t themselves at risk of losing their jobs. The earlier redundancy survivors are involved in discussions, the more likely the success will be once the dust settles.
Once the redundancies have been made, survivors need supporting. Therefore, give guidance and training to help them to cope with any changes to their role.
If you think you may need to make redundancies in the near or future or simply want to know more about what five mistakes do employers commonly make when handling redundancies, then please call us on 01706 565332 or email email@example.com
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