Redundancy – Your Questions Answered

Many employers will be starting to assess the needs of their organisation as we move towards what for some, may be challenging winter months. For some employers, this may lead to them considering making redundancies. With this in mind, we take a look below at some common questions managers have when it comes to redundancy.

Five Common Redundancy Questions

1. Can I just make an employee redundant ‘on the spot’?

Whilst employers can find themselves under time or financial pressures which may make such a step seem attractive, it will not usually be safe to simply notify an employee that they are being made redundant. As making someone redundant is a dismissal it’s important to ensure that it is done fairly and in a non-discriminatory way.

Employees who have two years’ service or more can claim ordinary unfair dismissal so an appropriate process will usually need to be carried out before any redundancy is made.

Whilst there can be more leeway when it comes to making employees with less than two years’ service redundant as they can’t claim ordinary unfair dismissal, there are still other claims that can be brought from day one of employment such as discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal (e.g. selection for redundancy because of ‘whistleblowing’).

It’s important to always seek advice before making anyone redundant, irrespective of their length of service.

2. What does making redundancies usually involve?

As a brief overview, employers will usually need to:

  • Ensure they have a genuine redundancy situation – such as fewer employees being needed to do the job
  • Identify the appropriate selection pool – this is the group of employees that are at risk of being made redundant
  • Look for alternative employment – a failure to do so can make a redundancy dismissal unfair
  • Fairly select who will be retained from the selection pool (unless the employer is proposing to make all employees in the selection pool redundant). Selection is commonly done using a skills matrix (further information about redundancy selection can be found in an earlier Legal Update here
  • Warn and meaningfully consult with employees who may be affected by the proposed redundancies before any decision to dismiss is made

Whilst this may sound daunting, don’t forget that Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd are here to help, we can provide expert guidance and support. If you think you may need to make redundancies in your organisation, please contact us as for specific advice. It’s worth bearing in mind that, if you are proposing to make 20 or more redundancies within a 90-day period there may be additional collective consultation obligations that will need to be met.

3. What should my first step be if I need to propose redundancies?

When it comes to redundancies planning is key, with this in mind the first step should usually be to put together a redundancy business case. Not only does the redundancy business case help employers to evidence that they have a genuine redundancy situation, but it also plays an important part in the consultation process with employees.

Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd can provide you with a template on request which will help you to structure and set out your own redundancy business case and aid you in including the necessary information.

4. Can a pregnant employee be made redundant?

It is possible to make an employee who is pregnant redundant but it’s vital for employers to ensure that they act appropriately. It’s important to be aware that a pregnant employee has the right not to be discriminated against and in addition it is automatically unfair to make an employee redundant because she is pregnant (if an employee has two years service or more, the rules regarding ordinary unfair dismissal should also be born in mind).

If you have a potential redundancy situation in your organisation that may involve or affect a pregnant employee or an employee on family leave, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd for advice.

5. Are all employees who are made redundant entitled to a statutory redundancy payment?

No, you will need to check your employee’s length of service as employees need to have two years’ continuity of service to be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.