I have been advised by my employer that they plan to start redundancy procedures within our department due to a lack of business, and I don’t understand what this entails. Can you offer any advice?

I have been advised by my employer that they plan to start redundancy procedures within our department due to a lack of business, and I don’t understand what this entails. Can you offer any advice?

I am sorry to hear you will potentially be going through the redundancy process – it can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Redundancies usually take place when a position of employment is no longer required by the employer.

Reasons for redundancy

There are three main reasons why an employer would begin redundancy procedures, including closure of the workplace; requirement for reductions in the size of the workforce; or closure of the business as a whole.

Redundancy of a specific position can only apply when the position itself is to be removed, and simply modernising or renaming the position is insufficient reason to make people redundant.

Your employer should try to give as much warning as possible of potential redundancies and should consult with staff, exploring possible alternatives to redundancy.

Multiple Redundancies & Collective Consultation

If there are 20 or more redundancies being made in the workplace within 90 days, there is a statutory right to collective consultation. In this instance, your employer should initially talk with the recognised union if there is one, or employee representatives if there is not.

Your employer should give your representatives written details of the reasons for redundancies, the number of staff that are being made redundant and the areas of the business that people are being chosen from. They should also detail how they will choose who is made redundant, how they will work out any payments, and the process and timeline they will follow.

Consultation of Individual Employees

Employers should also consult individual employees. It would be considered unfair if employers did not do this. At the first stage of the redundancy process, the employer must choose a fair pool of employees who will potentially be made redundant. 

When this has been decided, the employer should then use a suitable selection criteria to select who will be made redundant. The selection criteria must not discriminate and the deciding factors should be measurable in some way so a fair comparison of employees can be made without bias. 

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria could include length of service, productivity, timekeeping, attendance, or future needs of the business. Decisions should be made using a structured scoring process, using open minds, and based upon substantial evidence. The expectations on an employer will depend on the size of the organisation and the administrative resources at hand but regardless, they must still follow a fair procedure.

If you have worked at least 2 years when you are selected for redundancy, your employer must ensure that you are offered another job suitable for your skills if one exists. The redundancy is considered unfair if the employer does not do this.

Decision Making Process / Alternative Positions

If multiple redundancies are being made and there are not enough suitable alternative roles for everyone, interviews should be held to determine who should be offered the role. If you unreasonably refuse suitable alternative employment, you will not be entitled to statutory redundancy pay. 

Your employer must meet you individually at least once before they tell you their final redundancy decision. At this meeting you should get to discuss the factors related to the redundancy and ask any questions you may have. 

If you need any further assistance once you have more specific information, you can contact advice.scot advisers who can provide advice on your employment rights.

I hope this helps! 

You can access free, impartial advice on any topic from advice.scot by contacting 0808 800 9060 or by visiting www.advice.scot. Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.