An employment specialist from law firm Furley Page has urged business leaders and HR teams to consider the welfare of the individual if they are forced into making redundancies.
Amanda Okill, a Senior Associate at Furley Page, said: “As Kent’s businesses continue to face up to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately it seems likely that some further redundancies will be unavoidable. Whether or not they are forced into making redundancies, employers should do what they can to look after their employees as well as their business.
“While there is a correct ‘legal’ way to run a redundancy process, employers should also be aware of their responsibilities to treat employees with respect and courtesy, however difficult the situation.”
Amanda said that employers should refer to the following guidance from ACAS when considering whether to make staff redundant:
Do it openly
Following consultation requirements is key but early open discussions about potential redundancies is better for everyone.
Do it thoroughly
Make sure that the people carrying out the redundancy process have been trained in how to handle it properly before any consultation starts. They need to know the legal processes they must follow and everyone involved needs information and guidance, so they can pass that information onto the affected employees.
Do it genuinely
Consultation involves genuinely listening to employee and union views and being open to alternatives they put forward. Feedback should be provided with any ideas that are rejected to ensure transparency.
Do it fairly
As with any process, following a fair procedure is key and any process, including the selection of staff for redundancy consultation, the application of any selection criteria and the terms of redundancy, must be free of discrimination.
Do it with dignity
Taking redundancy can be a difficult experience and how an employer approaches it can change the way an employee views both their position and that of the employer. Employers should be empathetic in their conversations and correspondence.
Amanda’s comments follow guidance published by ACAS, the TUC and CBI on how best to handle redundancies stemming from the Covid pandemic. The ACAS guide to redundancy can be found at: https://www.acas.org.uk/redundancy
Amanda offers training to employers as well as training to employee representatives on their role in collective consultation.
Businesses that require advice about issues affecting their workforce, can contact a member of the Furley Page Employment Team on 01227 763939.
You can also follow the firm on Twitter @furleypage and on LinkedIn.