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Redundancy - Questions employees will ask

Article Written by Sue Berry on 18th February 2016. Revised 15th July 2017. Reading time: 2 minutes

Making people redundant is never easy. We recommend that before you begin you speak with us. We have a wide range of documents on our website that will also help you. Your starting point should be our white paper Redundancy: Get It Right!. You can then use our search button to find our other resources covering redundancy.

Your staff are going to have a whole series of questions which you will need to address as you go through the redundancy process. We've pulled together some of the more important questions that you are going to be asked, and presented them for you here.

Question: How long does my employer have to consult with me for?
Answer: This depends on the number of employees to be made redundant.

Where less than 20 people are to be made redundant within a 90 day period there is no specified consultation period. The advice is ‘to begin in good time’. In order to follow a fair dismissal procedure we suggest that this consultation period is likely to be about three weeks long.

Where between 20 and 99 employees that made be made redundant within 90 days the consultation period is at least 30 days before the first redundancy takes place.

When more than 100 people are to be made redundant in a period of 90 days or less, then the consultation period must begin at least 45 days before the first redundancy. Failure to meet these obligations could result in a ‘protective award’ for each employee involved. This means you will have to pay out compensation.

Question: Do I have a statutory right to have someone with me during the meetings?
Answer: There is no statutory right for the initial meetings, however at the final meeting (which must be called by letter indicating that dismissal may take place) there is a right for the person to have a trade union representative or a colleague with them during that meeting.

Question: Can I be made redundant and my work be picked up by someone else?
Answer: Where more than one person undertakes the same role and there is a requirement to reduce numbers of employees then those employees not selected for redundancy will take on all the duties previously undertaken by a large number of staff. Be aware that if you make one person redundant and then employ another person within three months to undertake the same role this will be in breach of redundancy regulations. In these circumstances the role is not actually redundant.

Question: My company employs me full-time and also employs a part-time person to do the same job I do. Why can't they just make the part-time person redundant and keep me?
Answer: Where several people undertake the same, or very similar roles, they must be put into a pool and everyone considered against the same criteria. Points are then awarded based on the criteria used and those with the least points are the people who will be made redundant. Making a part-time person redundant, or taking a ‘last-in, first-out’ approach is not acceptable and will lead to claims of unfair dismissal.

If you are a manager and you have a general redundancy question, get in touch. We can answer your question and then share a generic response here.

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