COVID-19 has been devastating for many organisations. Restrictions have badly affected how businesses operate with entire sectors of the UK economy remaining closed.

Organisations need to rapidly adapt their practices and procedures to ensure their business continuity and viability. Unfortunately, as businesses look ahead and plan for the future, many may be dealing with some difficult decisions when it comes to their employees.

Redundancy is an extremely stressful experience for all parties involved. Along with navigating legal and practice issues, employers need to consider the emotional impact on employees. This is made all the harder when the manager who is faced with the unenviable task of being forced to let some people go has little or no experience of having done this before.

There is no easy way to make someone redundant, but the following steps can help to make the process as smooth and stress free as possible:

Make a redundancy plan

Developing a redundancy plan is necessary to follow a fair process and avoid any legal disputes. It should be shared with all staff members and put into action.

You will need to be able to demonstrate you have a fair reason for dismissal and have gone through a fair process. Ensure there is a clear paper trail to document the dismissal and how it came to be decided. Failure to do this could lead to employee dispute and potentially a tribunal.

Consult all employees affected

Be sure to let individuals who are being made redundant know before the rest of the workforce. Hold meetings with individuals affected to explain that a review is currently under way and that the employee is at risk of redundancy. Try to ensure the message is delivered to all individuals at the same time and create a strategy to deal with those not available.

Employees at risk of redundancy should also receive a letter confirming all the information already relayed and an outline of your consultation plans and before finalising any redundancies, you must hold a redundancy consultation. This is a chance for employees to ask questions and pose challenges.

Discuss any concerns the individual may have, changes that need to be made and any additional support they may need. If a redundancy consultation is not considered genuine, it can become grounds for unfair dismissal claims.

Communicate clearly

Being made redundant can be very traumatic for an employee and the effects can be felt throughout the rest of the workforce. Consider holding meetings with all employees affected, not just those at risk of redundancy, and take time to explain the current situation, possible outcomes, and next steps. Regular and open communication is vital to maintain trust throughout your organisation; transparency really is key.

Involving managers and keeping them informed will also benefit the redundancy process. They may be able to come up with initiatives to help smooth the process and better prepare the business for any subsequent restructuring.

Comply with legal legislation

There is signification employment legislation which employers much comply with. If your organisation does not manage redundancies legally, employees may be able to claim for unfair dismissal and that could even lead to further redundancies if the financial health of the busines is the primary reason for staff reductions in the first place.

Before starting the redundancy process, make sure you are fully versed in the affected employee’s contracts. Redundancy notice should be given in accordance with the employee’s contractual notice. If the employee has worked for you for over two years, they will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay.


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