Redundancy is often perceived as an alarming concept. For employees it implies a loss of workplace roles and for employers it generally means making some potentially difficult decisions.

Redundancy, in respect of employment law, has a very specific definition, with particular procedures and protocols to be followed. Failure to follow these in the correct fashion leaves an employer open to costly claims and employment tribunals which is why a specialist employment lawyer is vital if this is the situation you are facing.

Redundancy is sometimes an essential tool for reducing the number of employees within a business. The reasons for making redundancies can include:

  • a change in products or services
  • economic pressures, such as recession
  • developments in technology meaning that fewer staff are required
  • the closing of a specific office or branch
  • the downsizing of the business

The right conditions for redundancy in employment law

Conditions for redundancy exist for employers. For example, making 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or less comes with an obligation towards your employees both to inform and consult with them. Failure to carry this out correctly could result in punitive measures, such as 90 days' pay being awarded to affected employees. As a first step, employers must gather together all employees who could be made redundant, however, this cannot simply be a list of those whom the employer wants to make redundant. Criteria for identifying the group includes:

  • all employees as a whole
  • those with a specific job title or within a specific department
  • those outside of the main operations of the business

If you are obliged to provide a consultation for your employees as a result of redundancy, then the following factors must be considered:

  • the original duty to consult
  • the length of the consultation, i.e. it must be a reasonable length of time
  • the objectives of the process; these must include methods of minimising the process or the effects of the process

Alternatives to redundancy should also be considered as part of the procedure, such as a reduction in pay or reduction in hours. It is also obligatory to give the employee the right to appeal the redundancy decision.

Solicitors for the redundancy procedure

Having skilled lawyers to oversee your redundancy process is vital. If it's not carried out correctly then claims against the company could follow under terms of unfair dismissal, breach of contract and wrongful dismissal.

Oratto has a number of member solicitors who can provide expert advice on redundancy. Select a name from the list on this page or send your details across to Oratto and we will find the best solicitor for your needs through our Match function.

For answers to any redundancy queries relevant to your business, contact an Oratto member employment lawyer today.