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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48193
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Ive been told my current role is redundant next Feb. I don

Customer Question

I've been told my current role is redundant next Feb. I don't understand how it is redundant when 25% of my job is been given to one colleague and the other 75% is been given to another. The only aspect of my role that will not happen in the future is a monthly written report that is completed on an exception basis and therefore in reality is not 'monthly'.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to be able to assist with your question today. Please let me know how long have you worked there for and if you are the only one doing your particular job?

JACUSTOMER-lqs9i83p- :

The redundancy applies to a level of management, there are nine of us. I have worked there for 25 years

Ben Jones :

What is happening to the other employees who are doing the same job as you? Are they at risk of redundancy too?

JACUSTOMER-lqs9i83p- :

Yes, all nine people at my level have been told that the role will become redundant at the beginning of Feb 2014. I have worked there for 25 years. I can't understand the 'redundancy' if there are no real changes to the work it is just going to be divided out among others. As I said earlier my experience with redundancies up to this point has been a clear change in working practise or a range of task no longer need at all.

Ben Jones :

Redundancy is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole, or within a particular site or job role. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisations, relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason conformed to the statutory definition of a redundancy.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines a redundancy situation as falling within one of the following circumstances:

  1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed
  2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites
  3. Diminished requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind.

Whilst the first two reasons are self-explanatory, it is the third reason that will be used most commonly and also the one that brings the most challenges.

Examples of when there is a diminishing responsibility to do work of a particular kind are:

  • There is the same amount of a particular kind of work but fewer employees are needed to do it. This would generally be seen as the "classic" situation in which the employer decides to make better use of its resources. This will also include consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out the work that is affected amongst existing employees). This is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to disappear for them to be made redundant, however that is certainly not the case.
  • There is less work of a particular kind and fewer employees are needed to do it (both the work and the headcount shrink)
  • There is less work of a particular kind, but the same number of employees are required overall.

So the job does not have to disappear for there to be a redundancy situation. Your circumstances can still amount to a redundancy and the issue then becomes how those that are to be made redundant are selected as the employer has to ensure there has been a fair selection process. This would normally involve some objective way of selection, such as adopting a scoring matrix or re-interviewing the people at risk for their own jobs or for those jobs that are either newly created or remain after the restructure.

JACUSTOMER-lqs9i83p- :

Sorry for the slow response. I hope you can explain a little further. In your examples of diminishing responcibility your first example of the same work but less people needed. What is the legal measure for this, how does the employer have to quantify this?

Ben Jones :

There is no legal measure - the requirements of the business are judged by the employer. This generally implies a commercial judgement, on the part of those running the business, about the priorities of the business and about which kind of work, or employee, has become surplus to requirements. In fact a tribunal cannot substitute its own view for that of the employer