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Friday, 22 November 2019 14:30

Making Redundancies Safely

Just as we were all getting used to the uncertainty caused by Brexit, we get thrown a curve-ball with the announcement of a general election. As if running a business wasn’t difficult enough!

With the main parties having announced their manifestos this week, we at least have some idea of how the country might be run. We don’t know who’s going to win of course so for the time being the uncertainty remains. Whilst we can’t plan, we can prepare. Nobody wants to make redundancies of course, but we must acknowledge that the risk of job losses often sits behind big political decisions. By ensuring we are comfortable with how redundancies should be handled, we can help to minimise the amount of disruption that they might cause.

We should remember that even in times of growth businesses often have to remodel and re-shape to accommodate or react to shifts in economic conditions. The need to making redundancies then isn’t always as a result of economic downturn. It might be to ditch unprofitable lines and add resources to better performing areas of the business.

If redundancies are on the cards, “last in, first out” isn’t an acceptable strategy, although it’s surprising how many people still think that it is. A transparent and equitable system that fairly scores employees’ abilities against the skills required to fulfil the available positions should be the go-to process that organisations adopt.

In all redundancy situations, the key point to remember is that it is positions that are made redundant and not people. Therefore, where a position is identified as being redundant and more than one person is currently employed who can fulfil it, operating a fair selection process is paramount in conjunction with the appropriate consultation period for the numbers being made redundant.

We recommend employees are scored against a ‘selection matrix’ that awards points for each requirement of the position including skills, qualifications, track record and experience. The scoring could include minus points for poor attendance and any disciplinary history. The lowest scores are those who are dismissed.

So if a company suffers a downturn in business and requires two less technicians, telephonists or roofers from a team of 10, then all 10 employees must be put “at risk”. A fair scoring system must then be applied to establish who the top employees are, based on their ability and aptitude. The bottom two scorers will lose their jobs.

Equally, employees that do similar roles at different offices or sites across the country may all need to be put at risk of redundancy if the need for one of those workers becomes unnecessary. So if the bookkeeping role of four offices could be managed by just two bookkeepers then all four would need to be put at risk and the best two selected following a fair selection process.

For clarity, unacceptable selection methods for redundancy include:

  • Last in first out
  • Drawing lots
  • Selection based on the lowest cost
  • Selection because someone is perceived as a difficult person.

To avoid going through the redundancy process, other options might be available to employers such as offering voluntary redundancy or reducing the hours of the whole team if everyone is in agreement.

Finally, make sure you can prove your scoring matrix is fair and does not favour or discriminate against any individual or group. A redundancy situation that can be construed as an excuse to exit a specific employee could lead to an unfair dismissal claim so it’s crucial that your process is flawless. Those who are absent on maternity leave may need special consideration and this may extend to parental and shared parental leave.

For further help and support with making redundancies contact us on 01452 331331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


Read 129 times Last modified on Friday, 22 November 2019 14:39

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