With ever increasing competition and financial pressure, organisations may be faced with the tough decision of having to restructure their business; for example downsizing or closure. The current economic climate has led to this to be one of the areas that we provide the most advice. Increasingly, our clients are asking us to guide them through the change and in some cases we have managed the entire process for them, as they appreciate that it is a complex situation that they would prefer was handled independently. This frees up more of their time so they can focus on the guiding their business through the change.
Communication of any proposed plans needs to be handled carefully. In certain situations employment law dictates clear processes with regards to matters such as consultation with employees e.g. redundancy & TUPE. Consultation provides employees with the chance to have their opinions heard before final business decisions are made. This does not necessarily mean an employer has to act on any ideas put forward by their staff but they must be able to provide clear reasons for rejecting employees’ ideas. The consultation should be productive so our specialists can help you decide on a list of appropriate topics that should be discussed during consultation. Poor management of the consultation process can lead to mistrust between parties.
In the case of redundancy, failure to comply with collective consultation requirements can lead to a protective award of up to 90 days’ pay, which is on top of any redundancy pay. This award is per employee!
We can work with you to ensure that any redundancy programmes, mergers or acquisitions are carried out smoothly with minimal disruption to your employees and business activity.
Managing the redundancy process requires more thought than most people would think. The delivery of the news needs to be handled appropriately. Companies need to consider:
- viable alternatives to redundancy
- offering voluntary redundancy
- redeployment opportunities
- the criteria they use to select employees for redundancy
If any of the above are not managed carefully then a Company exposes themselves to potential claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination. Our team have experience of advising on redundancy programmes of varying sizes. Our clients have benefitted from allowing us to prepare position papers, letters, redundancy pay calculations and meetings scripts on their behalf.
We have provided numerous clients with guidance on TUPE (transfer of undertakings protection of employment). This is the situation where employees’ rights are protected when the business transfers to a new employer. There are varying responsibilities that fall on the employer making the transfer (‘transferor’) as well as for the employer receiving the transfer (‘transferee’).
As with redundancies, there are timelines that companies must follow during the TUPE process. Employers have a duty to inform and consult with ‘appropriate’ employee representatives and this duty could also fall on the transferee. Failure to inform and consult effectively could lead to an employment tribunal awarding each affected employee with up to 13 weeks’ pay.
Our guidance will include information on all key elements of the TUPE programme; from the drafting of specific letters and meeting scripts. We ensure that our clients receive any necessary documentation in a timely manner.