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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I'm employed by a UK company (plc) but currently based

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I'm employed by a UK company (plc) but currently based in Tanzania, having been asked to undertake a key 'acting' role in a subsidiary company due inability to find a local do do the job. I was told 03-Feb (interview with letter handed to me) that i had been selected for redundancy by my UK company - there was no mention of my job in the letter.
I was told no alternative employment was available as 'plc' has no influence on local appointments..... but my lengthy personal experience clearly shows that is not true.
On 26-Feb we had a Skype meeting with my UK line manager & it was confirmed that no alternative job had been found for me. I then received an email from my UK line manager telling me that as my redundancy was confirmed (which it has not been, formally!) and that I would no longer report to him, but to a manager within the Tanzanian subsidiary, whilst I work my contractual 3 months notice in my seconded role.
Questions:
1/. What constitutes a formal confirmation of redundancy? Can it be verbal?
2/. Can my reporting line be changed like this? Especially to reporting to someone in a subsidiary company, overseas & subject to different laws, with which I don't have an employment contract?
3/. Any other thoughts. I don't want to make undue trouble, but I want to be treated correctly and fairly - and to get every reasonable benefit, as redundancy will bring hardship.
With sincere thanks, Paul
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello how long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I commenced employment with the UK company (known as 'Group' or 'PLC') on 1st Feb 2013. My contract is with Group, although I have been acting in a key position in a subsidiary company in Tanzania (E Africa) for many months at the request of senior management at Group.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Nothing further heard..... are you still working on it? Paul
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query. To answer your specific questions: 1/. What constitutes a formal confirmation of redundancy? Can it be verbal? Yes it can, unless the contract you are working under says that to formally end your employment they must submit written notice of termination. A redundancy is just a type of dismissal so the same requirements for termination would apply s with any other form of termination. Therefore, if the contract says that the employer must give you written notice of termination, the notice of redundancy should take written form too. In the absence of such a requirement it could be verbal. 2/. Can my reporting line be changed like this? Especially to reporting to someone in a subsidiary company, overseas & subject to different laws, with which I don't have an employment contract? Potentially yes, although it depends on how serious a change it would amount to. You do not need to have an employment contract with the company you report to so it really depends on what effect it would have on your ability to do the job and how much it impacts your current job role. Also if it is just for 3 months this would not be seen as a permanent change so the seriousness of such changes would not be as important as if it had become a permanent change, or for an indefinite period of time. 3/. Any other thoughts. I don't want to make undue trouble, but I want to be treated correctly and fairly - and to get every reasonable benefit, as redundancy will bring hardship. The key is whether the employer can justify there being a redundancy and if they have followed a fair procedure. There is a legal definition of what criteria a situation must meet to amount to redundancy and the employer must show that this qualifies to be able to treat it as a redundancy. They must also consult with you and try to find you alternative employment. Eventually you could be made redundant legally, even if you do not want to be but the employer must be able to show that they have met the necessary criteria. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the law on redundancy and how to work out f this is a genuine redundancy situation, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. The term 'redundancy' is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees. There are various reasons as to why redundancies may be required, such as economic pressure, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisation, workplace relocation, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will rarely be challenged and the employer will simply have to justify that the actual reason satisfied the statutory definition of a redundancy, which can be found in The Employment Rights Act 1996: 1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind (this is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to actually disappear for them to be made redundant). The third reason above creates the most challenges and may be the one which is used here too. Examples of when there is a reduced requirement to do work of a particular kind are:· The same amount of work remains but fewer employees are needed to do it. This includes consolidating some of its jobs (e.g. spreading out certain jobs amongst existing employees).· 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 as long as the employer can show that their situation fell within one of the accepted reasons for declaring a redundancy, the test will be satisfied and the focus then shifts on the remainder of the redundancy procedure. This would include what consultation took place, whether any suitable alternative employment was offered to those at risk and the general fairness of the redundancy procedure applied by the employer.