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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48788
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been informed today that my job in now at risk and now

Resolved Question:

I have been informed today that my job in now at risk and now in a consultation process. There are 10 employees involved in this. I currently earn circa 30-33k as I am also paid on a monthly commission basis but my actual basic salary is 23k plus a guaranteed bonus of 3600 making it 26,300 per annum the rest made up with commission. They are restructuring the business so that there are 2 replacement jobs on offer so basically 8 people likely to lose their jobs with a salary of 20-22k and no monthly commission package. The new job is basically the job I currently do but on a much larger scale, can they legally expect me to accept up to 10k a year less for doing the same job but as I said on a much larger scale.I have worked for the company for over 8 years and am 54 years of age

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

over 8 years

Ben Jones :

OK, thank you, ***** ***** this with me - I will look into this for you, get my response ready and get back to you on here. No need to wait around and you will get an email when I have responded, thank you

Customer:

I have just been asked to rate your service but as you wil see from the above I haven't yet had an answer to my question !!

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry about that – it is a system-generated email which you can ignore.

Going back to your question, if there is a redundancy situation, an employer has a duty to offer those employees at risk any suitable alternative employment (“SAE”) that may exist at the time. The objective is to keep the employee in a job rather than make them redundant. Therefore, if an employee accepts an offer of SAE, their employment will continue in the new position and they would lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.

If the offer is considered unsuitable and the employee refuses it, they will be made redundant and still receive redundancy pay. However, if the offer was suitable and the employee unreasonably refuses it, they would effectively be resigning and will lose their entitlement to redundancy pay.

So the main issue is what makes an offer suitable and when can an employee reasonably refuse it. The most common factors that would make an offer unsuitable are:



  • Job content/status – drop in status, substantial changes in duties, etc.

  • Pay and other benefits – significant drop in earnings/benefits (e.g. basic pay, bonuses, overtime, sick pay, holidays)

  • Working hours – change in shift pattern, removal of overtime, extension/reduction of working hours

  • Change of workplace – new location making it unreasonable to travel to the new place of work

  • Job prospects – going from permanent to temporary work, becoming self-employed or being employed on a fixed-term contract.


Where an offer of alternative employment has been made and its terms and conditions are different to the employee's current terms, they have the right to a 4-week trial period. If during the trial period they decide that the job is not suitable they should tell their employer straight away. This will not affect their employment rights, including the right to receive statutory redundancy pay.

So it is important to consider whether any offer that has been made is suitable or if there are reasonable grounds to treat it as unsuitable and safely reject it, opting for redundancy instead. In your case a reduction of around a third of your pay for doing the same job is likely to make this position unsuitable and you can argue that it does not amount to SAE and request redundancy instead.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Thank you for your response however you haven't told me anything I didn't already know. I basically asked if they could expect me to do the same job on a bigger scale for so much less money and you have said that it may not be considered suitable alternative employment, not whether or not they could legally do this

Ben Jones :

well not they cannot force you to do it - you can always refuse to because it is no longer your current job and not a suitable alternative positions. If they refuse to offer you redundancy instead then all you can do is resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal

Ben Jones :

Has this clarified your position?

Customer:

not really but thank you not money well spent

Ben Jones :

ok so what do you want to know please, I have answered your questions but I am unclear as to what else you need to know?

Ben Jones :

your last question above was "I basically asked if they could expect me to do the same job on a bigger scale for so much less money" - I answered this above - they cannot do that and I also provided the reasons as to why they cannot do that, so I am not clear as to why it has not clarified your position?

Customer:

You said they cannot force me to do it because it is no longer my current job so my question really is can they legally expect me to do the job for so much less money and if they insist that this is all on offer and I refuse am I entitled to redundancy or would I have to go down the constructive dismissal route

Ben Jones :

No they cannot because it would amount to a change to your contract and without your consent, it would be a breach of contract. SO legally you can refuse to do it and argue that it is not only a change of contract but as it was done following a redundancy exercise that it does not amount to suitable alternative position. So you can then ask to be made redundant instead but the issue is that you cannot force them to do so. So if they refuse to make you redundant the only option is to pursue this through the constructive dismissal route

Customer:

ok thank you I think the position is now clear so thank you for your time

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

Customer:

thank you

Ben Jones :

.

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