The ‘Naked’ Truth of Redundancies

Two weeks ago, we saw the demise of a further restaurant chain. Jamie Oliver, known for being the Naked Chef, said he was devasted that 22 of his 25 restaurants have gone in to administration with the loss of around 1,000 jobs. One worker in Birmingham reported that the closure was “brutal and unexpected”.

Redundancies are likely to result where there is a complete or partial closure of a business or where there is a downturn in work and fewer employees are therefore required.

If you are considering making redundancies within your business, it is imperative that you give consideration to the following questions in order to avoid unfair dismissal claims:

1. What is your business’s rationale behind the need to make redundancies?

2. Can compulsory redundancies be avoided by a recruitment freeze, requesting volunteers, terminating agreements with agency workers and the self-employed, a temporary lay-off or short time working?

3. How many staff members are ‘at risk’ of redundancy. Please be aware that you will trigger ‘collective consultation’ obligations where you are proposing to make 20 or more staff members redundant in a given time frame.

4. If you need fewer employees, what redundancy selection criteria will you use? You need to ensure this is objective and not subjective and is fairly and consistently applied amongst affected employees. Have they had an opportunity to respond to the proposed criteria?

5. Have you carried out appropriate consultation with the employees? You need to ensure appropriate notice of the meetings is provided and employees are advised of their right to be accompanied at individual consultation meetings.

6. Have you considered and responded to points put forward by affected employees as part of the consultation process?

7. Have you considered redundant employees for vacant roles/positions elsewhere in the business? You can utilise a 4-week trial period to assess suitability.

8. Have you confirmed the redundancy in writing and advised the staff member of their entitlements on a redundancy? Entitlements may include payment for accrued but untaken holidays, notice pay and, subject to staff members having at least 2 years’ service, a statutory redundancy payment.

For specialist advice on redundancy or on any other employment law matter, please contact our Coventry based Employment Law Solicitors:

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Askews Legal LLP, 5 The Quadrant, Coventry, CV1 2EL Tel: 024 7623 1000

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