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Your job is at risk of redundancy, and your employer has offered you redeployment to another job in the same company. Are you obliged to accept the redeployment?
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Redundancy is a ‘fair’ means of dismissal by your employer if you are an employee and the procedures they follow and the circumstances are correct. A redundancy situation happens when there is no more, or not enough, work for you and your colleagues (for example if your employer closes or relocates the business, or now needs fewer workers). Your employer needs to take the following steps to ensure the redundancy is ‘fair’:
Check out our article on Redundancy and Statutory Redundancy Pay
Employers need to consider the following factors when deciding if an alternative role will be ‘suitable’ to replace your redundant job:
If it’s reasonable for you to refuse a ‘suitable’ alternative role you will receive a statutory redundancy payment. You will not be due a redundancy payment if you unreasonably refuse a suitable alternative job offer.
To decide if it is reasonable for you to turn down an offer of alternative employment will depend on your specific circumstances including:
Your employer cannot force you to accept an offer of alternative employment, however if you refuse such an offer unreasonably you will forfeit your right to statutory redundancy payment as long as:
The onus is on the employer to show both your suitability for the job and that you have unreasonably refused the job. If your employer believes the alternative job is suitable but you disagree, you may be able to claim for statutory redundancy pay and unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal after you have followed your companies internal grievance process.
If an employer has alternative work available that is suitable but does not offer this to the redundancy employee the redundancy dismissal of the employee may be an unfair dismissal.
In Dunne v Colin & Avril Ltd 2017, Ms Dunne had leukemia and worked 24 hours per week over 3 days as a bookkeeper. Her employment transferred to a new business (same owner) and initially she was offered 16 hours per week which she declined for financial reasons. She was then offered 24 hours per week involving 16 hours per week as bookkeeper plus 8 hours of other work that included some work in the company warehouse. Ms Dunne declined this, saying it was inconsistent with her skills and experience and would not be cost-effective (as she was paid more as a bookkeeper) and was dismissed. At the tribunal it became clear, for the first time, that she could not work in the warehouse because of the cold environment. The Tribunal found her dismissal for redundancy was fair as the second offer was suitable (substantially office based and the same pay) and her refusal of it was not reasonable. The case went to EAT who were not happy with the ET’s approach and the case has been sent back to Tribunal to consider if the second offer was ‘suitable’ and if her refusal of the job was reasonable or not. The EAT said that the Tribunal should have asked if the employer had demonstrated that her refusal was unreasonable.
If your employer offers you a new job that is a reasonable alternative to your old job, but where there are some differences to the old position and it’s terms and conditions, you are entitled to a four week statutory trial period in the new job.
If you are an employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to us at The HR Kiosk – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – you can retain us for as much time as you need.
Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.
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Darren Fell, CEO of Crunch, said: "We welcome the government's commitment to adopt the recommendations from the Taylor report. We would however, urge caution that any response does not introduce more red tape, or reduce the ability for entrepreneurs to employ people flexibly."