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A practical guide to conducting redundancies

Photo of an empty office with desks and chairsRedundancies in the workplace are seldom easy, especially when faced with the challenge of parting ways with a team that may have worked together for years. The consequences of missteps in this process can lead to legal troubles and hefty penalties for your business.

To assist you through this challenging but sometimes necessary task, we at Fonseca Law would like to provide you with some practical recommendations.

Fair redundancy procedures

As an employer, adhering to a fair redundancy procedure is crucial, particularly for employees with at least 2 years of service.

Each business typically has its own redundancy policies, aligning with the terms in employment contracts.

While procedures may vary, businesses should ensure staff are informed about the following:

Selection Criteria - Clearly communicate how you'll choose individuals for redundancy.

Timeline - Specify the duration of the decision-making process.

Consultation Meetings - Outline individual and group meetings and their schedules.

Appeal Process - Inform employees about the appeals process if selected for redundancy.

This phase is known as the 'consultation period,' during which employees should participate in at least one meeting with Human Resources or their line manager, unless their employment is also under review.

Read: Common questions about Contract of Employment

The law for employees serving less than 2 years

Unless specified otherwise in the employment contract, employees with less than 2 years of service are not required to go through a redundancy process or individual meetings. However, other rules must be followed regardless of the duration of employment.

  • Employers should not base redundancy decisions on protected characteristics or unfair reasons.
  • Making at least 20 people redundant requires a group consultation.
  • Automatic Unfair Reasons

Certain situations are considered 'automatic unfair reasons,' providing protection to employees.

Some examples include:

  • Working part-time or on a fixed-term contract.
  • Refusing to work beyond contracted hours.
  • Exercising employment rights like maternity leave, minimum wage, etc.
  • Being on jury service.
  • Being in a trade union or participating in an official strike.
  • Reporting the employer for illegal activities.
  • Additional Measures for Employees Over 2 Years

The law for employees serving 2 years or more

For employees with over 2 years of service, additional measures must be followed:

Genuine reason - The reason for redundancy must be genuine.

Fair process - A fair redundancy process should be followed.

Alternative position - Employers should offer an alternative position if available and suitable.

Genuine reasons for redundancy may include factors such as business failure, skills no longer required, reorganisation, relocation, or acquisition by another entity.

Employers should avoid decisions that could make the redundancy ingenuine, such as employing others for similar work, having a negative relationship with the employee, or treating the employee differently during the consultation.

Read: Understanding an employment tribunal

In conclusion, our recommendation is for employers to proceed with redundancies that are fair to all employees. While employment law is extensive and often intricate, having a well-defined redundancy process, executed fairly and comprehensively, significantly reduces the risk of disputes.

For further guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, Fonseca Law are here to assist.

For a personalised consultation on employment matters, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced legal team by calling 01495 303124, via email at or by completing our convenient online enquiry form.