The highest ever recorded number of redundancies have been recorded since March 2020. It is imperative that the redundancy process follows not only best practice but guidelines and requirements in law.
The overarching aim for the redundancy process is to provide fairness. There are strict protocols which employers are obliged to obey in order to achieve this. Solicitors firms have been experiencing an exponential growth from both employees at risk and employers seeking advice and guidance during the covid pandemic.
Employers making redundancies
Employers who attempt to ‘short-cut’ or expediate the redundancy process inevitably leave themselves open to costly Employment Tribunal action, even a small lapse in due process could constitute unfair dismissal. The system of redundancy varies depending on the number of positions at risk. For instance, if an employer is proposing to make over 20 redundancies, they have a statutory duty to consult with any associated trade union organisations, or elected employee representative.
Redundancy and furlough
Furlough has added further consideration throughout the pandemic. Principally, it is entirely at the employers discretion whether or not to place an employee on furlough, there is no obligation to do so. Unfortunately the alternative to furlough is often redundancy, with Northern Ireland currently experiencing unprecedented statistics in this regard. Employers should exercise caution when making a furloughed employee redundant in relation to notice periods and any payments made in lieu.
Employees who have at least two years continual employment are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. Redundant employees are also entitled to a notice period, which can be served or paid in lieu, along with any annual leave not taken on a pro rata basis.
How can we help?
Our expert team of employment solicitors can provide advice and guidance for both the employer and employee when facing the unfortunate situation of redundancy.