With some travel businesses struggling and the furlough scheme set to change, staff redundancies are likely. In the first of a two-part series, employment law expert Joanna Chatterton explains key considerations for employers.
Following the announcement that employers will be expected to contribute to the furlough scheme from the end of July and with the scheme to end permanently at the end of October, travel businesses are now taking stock of whether staff can be retained, or whether they will need to be let go.
If they do, what should employers prepare for? Here are my key considerations for employers.
A redundancy situation occurs in the circumstances of business closure, workplace closure or when there are diminished requirements for employees to do work of a particular kind.
Any of these might arise in the current climate. Carefully document the business reasons for redundancies in case you need to evidence it if a dismissal is disputed.
Other overarching considerations to take into account are as follows:
If your process or selection criteria puts employees with certain protected characteristics at a disadvantage e.g. their sex, race or nationality, age or a disability, you may face costly discrimination claims.
This depends on how many redundancies, timing and location:
Not following the required collective process will entitle affected employees to a protective award of up to 90 days’ pay.
If employees are on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and you are thinking about making them redundant, consider the following:
It is a criminal offence not to notify the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy no later than the first day of any collective consultation process on the prescribed form.
Step 5: Individual consultations
In addition to collective consultation, or if making fewer than 20 redundancies, an individual consultation process should be followed, as follows:
The process will vary depending on the circumstances, your resources and time-constraints. You will need to ensure decisions are recorded in writing. A failure to follow a fair process could give rise to unfair dismissal claims.