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Redundancy - Procedures After the April Changes

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Following the removal of the statutory dispute resolution procedures with effect from 6 April this year, most dismissal procedures will now be subject to the new ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievance. However, this Code does not apply to redundancy dismissals - this is expressly stated within the Code.

Therefore, when dismissing employees by reason of redundancy, the dismissal will be fair provided that the employer has satisfied three principal obligations and these are as follows:

  • The employer must warn and consult any employees affected or their representative
  • A fair basis on which to select must be adopted
  • Finally, the employer must take such steps as may be reasonable to avoid or minimise redundancy by redeployment within the organisation

In practice, consultation with potentially affected employees should take place over one or two weeks before notice of termination is then served. It is still recommended that the employee should be given a right of appeal to somebody more senior within the organisation who has not been directly involved in the initial selection process.

The selection process will normally be based upon a number of objective criteria and each "candidate" within the "selection pool" will be scored against these criteria by a manager or managers who are well qualified to do this and who have direct knowledge of the employee's job.

To clarify, this process will apply to redundancy exercises where less than 20 employees are likely to be made redundant from one establishment. However, where the employer is contemplating 20 or more redundancies within certain time frames, a separate and additional layer of consultation is legally required.

In essence, this requires the employer to consult with elected representatives and set out certain matters in writing. Finally, the consultation period must be a minimum of 30 days or indeed 90 days where the number of potential redundancies is 100 or more.

We would recommend that clients seek specific, tailored advice when considering the possibility of redundancies to ensure that they meet the necessary requirements and therefore reduce or remove the possibility of unfair dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal. We can provide clients with a "pack" of documents including precedent letters and checklists that we would then work with them to adapt and thus fit their precise circumstances.

For further information contact Paul Grindley by email: paulgrindley@keeblehawson.co.uk or direct telephone: 0113 3993424.

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