You can avoid compulsory job losses by planning ahead and looking at other alternatives.

  1. Redundancy – where to start
  2. Who to consult with
  3. Who to select for redundancy
  4. Alternatives to redundancy
  5. Consultation meetings
  6. Redundancy – scoring employees
  7. Concluding redundancy consultation

Before making someone  redundant you should see if you can:

  • offer voluntary redundancy or early retirement
  • agree to flexible working
  • temporarily reduce working hours
  • ask employees to stop working for a short time
  • retrain employees to do other jobs in your business
  • let go of temporary or contract workers
  • limit or stop overtime
  • not hire any new employees

Offer voluntary redundancy

Employers will often ask for volunteers to apply for redundancy as an alternative to consulting and having to make a selection. What terms you offer are up to you – but they are usually more generous than Statutory Redundancy Pay and their contractual notice. Whether you accept their application – or even offer voluntary redundancy will depend on the needs of your business but you must not discriminate against who it is offered to

For example, you could be accused of age discrimination if you only offer early retirement to your older employees.

Agree to flexible working

You can agree to update employment contracts to allow more flexible working.

This could include offering your employees:

  • to work fewer hours
  • homeworking
  • job shares
  • to work compressed hours

Move employees into other jobs

You should try and move employees who would otherwise be made redundant into other jobs within your organisation (provide ‘suitable alternative employment’).

Providing suitable alternative employment

You must identify any available jobs in your organisation and talk to the affected employees to see if they agree they’re suitable.

If a role is suitable for an employee you’re making redundant, you should offer it to them instead of redundancy. The redundancy could be judged an ‘unfair dismissal’ if you do not.

If more than one employee is interested in the same role, you must offer the role to employees on maternity leave first. For all other employees, you must follow a fair process, for example interview for the role.

If you do offer an employee another job it needs to be:

  • in writing
  • made before their contract ends
  • a different job to the one they’re doing – you’ll need to explain how it’s different

They should not have to apply for the job. The new job must start within 4 weeks of their previous job ending.

Trial periods

Employees have the right to a 4-week trial period if they accept a new role. If they need more time to train for the role, you can agree to a longer trial period. It must be agreed in writing and have a clear end date.

The trial period should start after they’ve worked their notice period and their previous contract has ended.

This avoids any confusion or disputes over dates if the trial does not work out. It’s a good idea to set out the dates for the trial in writing.

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