If you are at-risk of redundancy, your employer should provide you with information about any alternative employment or vacancies they have available. Read on to find out more.
Are You In A Redundancy Situation?
Before reading on to find out more, it is important you consider whether you are in fact in a redundancy situation. For more information on this, please see our blog here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/are-you-in-a-redundancy-situation/.
I Am In A Redundancy Situation – What Should My Employer Do?
If you are indeed in a redundancy situation and you have been placed at-risk, your employer has an obligation to try and avoid your redundancy. Importantly, this involves considering and offering you (if available) any suitable alternative employment in the organisation. This should include any positions you could step into immediately, or with a reasonable amount of training.
Your employer’s duty to try and avoid your redundancy continues until your last day of employment. This means, for example, if a position becomes available at the company during your notice period, your employer still has a duty to consider whether you could step into the vacancy.
What Is Suitable Alternative Employment?
The starting point is to consider your current role against any vacancy or vacancies. On an objective basis (i.e. without consideration of your personal circumstances), whether the vacancy is a suitable post. In coming to this decision, the factors which should be taken into consideration are:
- Are the salaries same/similar?
- Would the vacancy cause a change to your status?
- Is the alternative position based in a different location?
- Do you have the required skills for the alternative vacancy? If not, could you develop the skills with reasonable training?
- Are the working hours same/similar?
- Does the alternative vacancy include additional/less responsibilities?
- Is there a difference in other contractual benefits?
Depending on the answers to the above, it may be the vacancy is suitable alternative employment.
What If My Employer Refuses To Offer Me A Vacancy Which I Think Is Suitable Alternative Employment?
If you are at-risk of redundancy and have identified a vacancy with your employer which you consider is suitable, you must let your employer know. State the details of the vacancy, why you think it is suitable alternative employment and explain that you wish to be offered the role to avoid your redundancy. Ideally, do this in writing.
If your employer refuses, you should explain that they are breaching their obligations towards you as an employee at risk of redundancy. If your employer fails to offer you suitable alternative positions within the company and makes you redundant, you may then have a claim for Unfair Dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. For more information about this claim, please see here https://lincslaw.co.uk/services/employees/resignation-dismissal-and-redundancy/unfair-dismissal/
What If My Employer Offers A Vacancy Which I Do Not Think Is Suitable Alternative Employment – Can I Refuse?
The starting point is that your employer must make you an offer. Also, that offer should be sufficiently detailed so that you have enough information to enable you to decide whether to accept. A brief, vague, chat is unlikely to be sufficient. However, a written offer with job description, salary information etc is likely to have enough detail.
It is, of course, entirely your choice whether to accept or refuse an offer of alternative employment with your employer. However, if your refusal is deemed an unreasonable refusal of suitable alternative employment, you risk forfeiting the right to a statutory redundancy payment.
If you do not consider the role offered is, objectively, sufficiently similar to your redundant role then it may not be suitable alternative employment at all (please see considerations above). It might be at a lower grade, lower salary etc. If so, you should explain to your employer (ideally in writing) why you disagree the offer is suitable alternative employment.
Even if the vacancy seems suitable on an objective assessment, you should consider whether it is indeed suitable for you personally. You should consider the offered position in relation to your own personal situation. For example, if stepping into the vacant role would require a change in location, would you be able to travel? If you are a working parent, would different working hours be unsuitable? You should explain to your employer (again, ideally in writing) why you are personally unable to accept the offer and why such refusal is reasonable.
Your employer will only be able to refuse to pay you a statutory redundancy payment if the role you have been offered is a suitable alternative position and you unreasonably refuse the role.
Given the fact-specific nature of these questions, we would always recommend seeking legal advice before deciding whether to refuse alternative employment in a redundancy situation.
What If My Employer Offers Me Suitable Alternative Employment, But I Am Unsure Whether To Accept?
If the offered role has different terms to your current position, but you are willing to try the new post, you can request a four-week trial period. As such, a trial period should start when your original contract of employment ends and last (at least) four weeks. During the trial period, you should be able to trial the new position fully and consider whether the alternative position is indeed suitable.
If it is not for you, you can then ask to be made redundant. If you are happy with the new position, then, of course, you can remain in the new post.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If you are going through a redundancy procedure and/or your employer has offered you alternative employment, Lincs Law Employment Solicitors can help you. Please call us for a free enquiry on 01522 440512. Alternatively, you can fill out our online enquiry form and we will telephone you to discuss your matter. You can meet us here; https://lincslaw.co.uk/about/our-team/
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