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Your Redundancy Questions Answered

I often hear the term redundancy used in the wrong context and I think it's imperative that employers understand what redundancy is and what it isn't. Plus some other myths we're going to dispel.

When is it redundancy?

Redundancy procedures can only be implemented in specific circumstances:

  • When the whole business is closing

  • When a particular office, shop or site is closing

  • Diminished need for employees to carry out work of a particular kind.

Redundancy applies to the ROLES affected, not the individuals. That means that you can't make someone redundant because they were stealing money from the till...that would be a dismissal.

So before you start thinking, can I make this person redundant...consider where the situation fits in terms of the five potentially fair reasons for dismissal:

  • Conduct

  • Capability or performance

  • Redundancy

  • Statutory illegality or breach of a statutory restriction

  • Some other substantial reason

When should you start redundancy consultations?

Consultations should technically begin at the time at which you believe redundancy might be on the cards. That means that if you are looking at a restructure and you identify that a certain number of job losses might be necessary, that is the point at which you should start consulting with staff.

How long do I have to consult for?

Where less than 20 redundancies are to be made, collective consultation rules do not apply and therefore the law does not prescribe a particular length of time for the consultation. From a practical perspective, you need to give employees time to digest the information and potentially look for alternative employment so always look to give reasonable time for a consultation period.

Can I make an employee on maternity leave redundant?

Well the short answer here is, yes. Maternity protections mean that if an employee on maternity leave is selected for redundancy, they are entitled to be offered a suitable alternative role where a vacancy exists.

You cannot make an employee redundant because they are on maternity leave and you also cannot exclude them from the redundancy pool if their role is affected due to their maternity leave.

Just be super clear on what constitutes sex discrimination and make sure you avoid it!

If I make someone redundant, do I have to wait 6 months before they could come back?

It is commonly believed that if you make an employee redundant and you decide to re-employ them within 6 months of redundancy, that the employee would have to re-pay their redundancy payment.

There's not a shred of truth to this.

If an employee wanted to return to the business after being made redundant, their continuous service would have to start from scratch again, but that's it.

It's not a very common practice because part of the redundancy process is to look for alternative employment for the affected employees, so there's not usually a need to re-engage employees who have been made redundant.


Got more questions about a redundancy process?

Why not book yourself a complimentary HR Taster Session?

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