All companies recognise that it takes teamwork to succeed. Companies need enthusiastic and motivated staff to maximise their businesses and grow to their full potential. However when times get tough, companies need to reduce overheads in order to protect as many jobs as they can. Some companies ask people to take pay cuts, others suggest four-day working weeks. Tough times call for tough actions and the last action any company wants to do is to make their loyal, capable people redundant. Some companies will have other reasons for making redundancies. These can include - company takeovers, necessary closure or relocation of offices or lost business. Redundancy occurs when the job has ceased or the requirements for the job are diminishing. Whatever the reason, we must try and accept the situation. Try to look forward, not back.
Regardless of the company size and number of employees to be dismissed most companies will hold talks about the situation the company is facing, however employers must consult appropriate representatives when it is proposed to dismiss 20 or more employees over a period of 90 days.
If the possibility of redundancies has been announced and you have been working for the company for more than two years, your company will be likely to hold a meeting with you. This meeting will be to discuss your personal situation and your views about the reduction in business to see if there are other opportunities available for you e.g to transfer to another section, ideas to increase business etc.
Do see the Consultation meeting as an opportunity to put your views across. Don't assume the company has thought of everything.
Even if you have worked for the company for less than two years, you are still entitled to be made redundant fairly. You may attend group consultation meetings or be represented by your union or elected work colleague.
Some companies will have no alternative but to reduce the size of their workforce as soon as possible and therefore ask people to come forward to volunteer for redundancy. Often companies will make ex-gratia payments in addition to statutory redundancy pay to help reduce the blow. Companies will then put forward your details for redundancy, however, you may not be selected for redundancy under the final criteria they draw up.
Selected for redundancy
Some companies making large scale (over 20) redundancies will draw up a criteria list for redundancy. Some will decide the fairest way is 'last in first out', others will decide on sales performance as some of the newer people may turn out to be the company's best performers. Whatever criteria is used, the company will have considered the criteria to be the fairest method and in the best interests of the company as a whole.
You will be shown how you have been selected for redundancy and how other people have. (Some companies use a score sheet). You will also be given a notice in writing terminating your employment.
Offer of alternative employment
The company has a duty to offer you alternative employment even if the job is of lower status or pay. Jobs from sister companies should also be offered to you. It is for you to decide whether you wish to accept the new job or not.
Should you decide to accept, you have four weeks to trial the new position. If the position were unsuitable, you would be entitled to redundancy payment.
Appeals for selected redundancy
You have a right to appeal if you feel you have been unfairly selected for redundancy, however you must be prepared to demonstrate the unfairness.
If you're unsuccessful, try and leave the company on a positive note if you've enjoyed working there. You may wish to work for the company again in the future.
If you have worked for the company for a continuous period of two years, you are entitled to redundancy pay on top of your notice period. People aged under 22 will receive half a weeks pay for each year of service. People aged 22 but under 41 will receive one weeks pay for each year or service. People aged 41 and over will receive one and a half weeks pay for each year of service. Your contractual notice period is payable on top of the redundancy pay along with any holiday pay you are entitled to. Some companies also offer ex-gratia payments in addition to the statutory payments.
You will also be given a financial statement detailing the calculation of the redundancy pay.
Termination Bonus payments
Companies often offer bonuses to redundant employees to encourage them to remain with the company until a certain period of time. The bonus incentive is often used when a company is relocating or closing an office. There is no obligation for you to stay at the company. However, if you leave before the termination date, you may well forfeit the bonus.
Whilst you are under notice of redundancy and have been continuously employed for at least two years, you are entitled to take reasonable time off with pay during working hours to look for another job or to make arrangements for training for future employment. However, your employer only has to pay you up to two-fifths of a week's pay for it. For example, if you work five days a week and you take four days off in total during the whole notice period, your employer only has to pay you for the first two days.
For full details on redundancy go to www.acas.org.uk