11 Jun 2024

HR Hot Topic: Redundancy

Considering redundancies? Here’s some tips from our associate Kate to bear in mind.

Kate says:

“Due to the current economic climate downsizing is on the increase and whilst redundancy is a potentially fair reason for dismissing someone from your organisation, there are plenty of things to look out for before you leap in.”

5 Top Tips:

1. Impact of redundancies on your employees

The impact of a redundancy programme on those who leave the organisation, those who stay and those who lead the process should not be underestimated. Periods of uncertainty can affect the mental health and wellbeing of your employees and lead to a dip in performance as well as potential absences from work. That’s why we would always suggest that you have fully considered all your options before embarking on such a project and that you have expert help on hand to guide you. 

2. There should be a genuine redundancy situation.

Quite often employers see redundancy as an easy way to remove a “problem person” from their organisation. As we know, there are ways to manage under performance and absence (for example) and these should be used early on as they are the most effective way to deal with issues. Redundancy is not a “quick fix” solution (see below) and, understandably, Employment Tribunals do not take kindly to redundancy being used as a tool to solve other people problems. One of the reasons for this is that the law is designed to protect and prevent employees from being made redundant wherever possible. 

3. A fair process should be followed.

If you have established that there is a genuine redundancy situation, then the next step is to design a fair and robust process. Even if the numbers of people are very small, it will be essential for you to demonstrate that you have executed things fairly. Help from experts (like us at The HR Branch) is key here as we can advise you on how best to consult with and select individuals for redundancy with the aim of managing people sensitively and with as low a risk as possible. 

4. Remember those who are in different circumstances.

Not all your employees fit into the same neat bracket – in fact everyone is different. So you will need to make sure that you have remembered to update employees who are off sick or absent from work for other reasons and you will also need some extra advice if these employees are themselves potentially affected by the changes. 

5. Take account of the latest developments in legislation.

You might not be aware but employment legislation is constantly reviewed and updated to ensure that it is fit for purpose. It’s our role at The HR Branch to keep you informed about what has changed and to apply this to your changing needs. For example, the latest relevant development is the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, which came into effect on 6 April 2024. This brand-new legislation extends the safeguarding mechanism for pregnant employees from the point at which they disclose their pregnancy to their employer until 18 months after the baby is born. It also applies to employees returning from shared parental leave or adoption leave.

Remember, we are here to help! If you need support or advice about this or any other people matters then please do get in touch at info@thehrbranch.co.uk