This online Handling Redundancy course will look at what a redundancy actually is, how they might be avoided and what the law says. Learners will see what the consultation process is and why having a proper selection process is important. You will learn what the notices periods are, who is entitled to a redundancy payment and how to calculate it.
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Redundancy is generally where an employer needs to reduce their workforce –
for example, if the business is closing or certain work is no longer required.
As the owner or manager of a business, you may be worried about a downturn
• Is there enough work to keep staff busy?
• Is there sufficient income to pay wages and keep the company afloat?
Your thoughts may turn to making redundancies to reduce the number of staff
you employ to cut costs. This can be a daunting prospect which will affect you
and all of your employees.
If you have to make redundancies they should normally be for the following
• You have ceased (or intend to cease) carrying on the business for the
purposes of which you employ someone.
• You have ceased (or intend to cease) to carry on the business in the location
you employ someone.
• You don’t require your employees to carry out work of a particular kind
• You don’t require your employees to carry out work of a particular kind in a
specific location anymore.
Redundancy can occur either where the amount of work disappears completely,
or where the amount of work reduces. Redundancy can be voluntary or
This might seem a little legalistic, but ensuring you meet legal requirements
is essential if your business is changing or closing.
This guide is aimed at small firms, and larger organisations proposing to make
fewer than 20 employees redundant.
Be prepared: Seriously consider alternatives
Before you start a redundancy process, consider the many alternative options
you could use or combine to reduce redundancies, or even prevent them
The alternatives include:
• Reducing or ending overtime – but check your contracts first.
• Stop recruiting and retrain staff – this can often save you money and be
better for morale.
• Stop using contractors/casual staff/agency workers – but be clear on
their employment status first.
• Offering flexible working – employees are more productive with a better
work-life balance, so offering part-time working, job shares etc can save you
money and avoid redundancies. To find out more, see Acas Advisory booklet
– Flexible working and work-life balance.
• Offering voluntary redundancy/early retirement – Ask employees if
they would consider these options (but don’t single out individuals otherwise
you could be accused of discrimination, and remember a voluntary
redundancy is still a dismissal). If your most valuable members of staff
volunteer, you do not have to accept their requests for redundancy.
• Temporarily lay off employees – this is not the same as redundancy. If
you have a temporary lack of work available and you already have employee
agreement (or get agreement), you can ‘lay off’ your staff for a period of
time, usually with considerably reduced pay. To find out more, see Acas
Advice leaflet – Lay-offs and short-time working
• Temporarily place employees on short-time working – similar in
practice to lay-offs, this is where, with agreement, employees are laid off for
a number of days each week, or for a number of hours during a working day.
To find out more, see Acas Advice leaflet – Lay-offs and short-time working.
• Changing your staff employment contracts – Sometimes you might not
want to lose your staff, but agree new terms and conditions (such as wages,
hours and duties). As a last resort, you may need to impose changes (which
can mean redundancies) but there are other often simpler and better