Restructuring – Employment Perspective
Background
Though there is lots of positive sentiment within the business community as the light begins to appear at the end of the ‘coronavirus pandemic tunnel’, many employers now recognise that they need to consider how they will adapt to a changed business landscape. The UK Government has provided valued and much needed financial support to businesses during the pandemic, but that is inevitably coming to an end. In addition, the pandemic has also had an impact on consumer demand and behaviours.

Legal Implications
As a consequence, we are aware that many employers will need to consider restructuring within their organisations in response to these changes. The rules and regulations around redundancy will inevitably need to be a key consideration in such circumstances, and the key points that employers will need to think about are:

  • Will the Collective Consultation rules apply, and if so, do we have an existing framework to enable collective consultation to take place?
  • Is our redundancy policy and procedure compliant and up to date?
  • Are our managers and supervisors trained and equipped to role out a consistent and fair process?
  • Do our managers and supervisors have access to the support and advice that they will need to deliver a difficult process with confidence?
  • Do we have a fair and objective set of redundancy selection criteria in place?

Importance of Communication
Employers have a duty and responsibility to help their employees understand the causes that have resulted in the need for restructuring and redundancies. It is therefore vitally important to ensure that the messaging to employees during a period of restructuring is clear and consistent throughout. If enough attention is not applied to this area, human nature will result in a void in communication being filled by unhelpful and distracting rumors and hearsay.

Consultation
Employers are legally required to consult staff who are affected by redundancy, irrespective of the number of job losses involved. However, the collective consultation rules apply if an employer is considering making 20 or more redundancies within a 90-day period. Consultation by its very nature must be 2-way and meaningful, in that employers are required to make a genuine attempt to minimise the number of job losses and/or mitigate against the impact of redundancy on those affected. Employers must therefore consider and feedback on any proposals put forward by staff or their representatives before making any final decisions.

Keeping Records
As with any process that results in dismissals, there is a risk that employees will register claims with the Employment Tribunal. Employers will therefore need to keep detailed records at every step in the process. If Employment Tribunal claims are received, it is not enough to have run a fair and compliant process, employers will need to be able to effectively demonstrate this point on paper to a tribunal panel if necessary.

Our Experience
At Transitional HR Limited, we have significant experience of helping employers to deal with restructuring effectively and fairly from an employment perspective. Our approach is also proven to minimize the risk of costly and time-consuming employment claims. CLICK HERE if you would like to schedule a discussion on this subject.

Disclaimer
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter. The information does not take account of individual circumstances and may not reflect recent changes in the law.

We advise that you contact Transitional HR Limited via the following link CLICK HERE to obtain specific, bespoke legal advice about any related matter and we strongly advise that you do not solely rely on the information or comments contained within this article.

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