COVID-19: Redundancy levels set to rise in Cheshire.
As we enter a period of economic uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, many businesses may be faced with the difficult decision of cutting their workforce in order to save costs. We have already seen some businesses from across Cheshire in different sectors taking this road, leaving many employees questioning their job security. Even a large employer with a prestigious status like Bentley Motors with its headquarters in Crewe, have announced 1000 job cuts.
Although the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme had been largely successful in support of UK employers and employees to avoid redundancies, it will be regrettably inevitable that once this measure subsides, more employers will conclude that staff redundancies may be necessary.
Whilst we are going through unprecedented times and uncharted waters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers must still adhere to the employment laws of the UK. In order to lawfully dismiss for redundancy, there must be a genuine redundancy situation.
An employee is dismissed by reason of redundancy if his dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to:
- the employer ceasing or intending to cease carrying on the business for the purpose of which the employee was employed by him
- the employer ceasing or intending to cease carrying on that business in the place where the employee was employed
- the requirements of the business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, either generally or in the place where the employee was employed, ceasing or diminishing, or being expected to cease or diminish
And the employer must follow a fair and correct process which should include:
- Demonstrating that the employee was fairly selected for redundancy through the correct procedures.
- Conducting employee consultations and giving employees adequate warning before redundancy measures are confirmed.
- Trying to find suitable alternative employment for at risk employees to undertake.
- Providing employees who have two years continue service with minimum statutory redundancy payment.
The above points are only some of the considerations when looking at redundancy arrangements. If your redundancy is confirmed, your employer should advise you to obtain independent legal advice from an employment solicitor prior to signing any settlement agreement as part of the process.