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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I have applied severance from Brighton and Hove

Customer Question

I have applied for voluntary severance from Brighton and Hove City Council. There will be a very limited opportunity. Perhaps 1 person of the 4 who have applied.
Below is a statement from Brighton and Hove saying that basically whoever is cheapest to let go will be chosen but they do say 'in the absence of any other criteria'.
“It’s basically a mechanism for determining the relative cost/value for money of an individual severance package. For example, if an individual’s salary plus on-costs is £30,000 and the cost of releasing them on voluntary severance grounds is £10,000 the payback period for this person would be 0.333 years or 4 months. Alternatively, if someone’s salary plus on-costs is £20,000 and their voluntary severance package costs £30,000 the payback period would be 1.5 years or 18 months. The lower the payback period the better the financial business case for the council and so those who apply for voluntary severance would be ranked according to this in the event that we have more applications than we require. This is an objective mechanism to make the decision in the absence of any other criteria being identified relates to service needs.”
I have had a great deal of ill health over the last 18 months. Some of it beyond mt control. My older daughter took a severe overdose in March 2015 and my younger daughter (14) who came out as transgender in the summer of 2015 took an overdose in September. Working and trying to support mt daughters has taken a real toll on my health. I had bronchiolitis 18 months ago which has left me with late onset asthma. I have had to have steroids as well as inhalers in the last month. I have high blood pressure, and I am struggling with anxiety and depression myself. Both of which I receive medication for. I do feel in a state of collapse. I have just recovered from a kidney infection with back spasms and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.(28th Feb 2016). I have had 5 weeks off in the last 9 weeks since Jan 2016.
I am hoping that the phrase... any other criteria' can refer to my health difficulties because there is no way that I am as effective a worker as some-one in good health.
My older daughter is particularly depressed and a source of great worry.
I am a teacher but my service does not have the illness cover in normal schools. Schools buy me in to work with SEN children. If I do not go in, the schools will stop buying me in, which impacts on my colleagues job security as well as mine. I have had to work a good deal when I have felt really unwell which has resulted in my health deteriorating.
I have been to occupational health and have another appointment in a weeks time.
How can I improve my chances of being selected for volunatry severance as I don't think I would be the cheapest.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello apart from costs are there any other reasons why you may not be selected?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, not sure if you saw my initial query above - apart from costs are there any other reasons why you may not be selected?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,
There are no other reasons why I might not be considered for the voluntary severance.
Looking forward to your phone call.
Best Wishes
Nicky
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hi I am in tribunal today so cannot call but will provide my response on here later today thanks
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your patience. The starting point is that an employer can use whatever criteria they wish to select who will be granted a request for voluntary redundancy. The allows them to apply those factors which they believe are relevant in the circumstances, as long as they are not discriminatory in nature. Discriminatory factors are those linked to a person’s gender, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, etc. So if they wanted to use costs as a factor in the selection process, they are entitled to do so. If you are unlikely to be the cheapest of those under consideration, you cannot force the employer in any way to select you. Using your health could be a way to make it clear that you do not expect an easy time ahead and may not be able to fulfil all of your duties and be in all the time as they kay expect you to, but that alone is not going to force them to choose you. In fact it may put them off in a way because selecting you because of your health could be potentially discriminatory on grounds of disability. Nevertheless I still believe that this may be the best approach as the are ways to remove the risks associated with potential discrimination on the employer’s part. So consider highlighting your situation to the employer and making it clear that in the long run you may be the best option for selection now, even if at present you may not necessarily be the cheapest to go.This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal options you have to incentivise the employer further, 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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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the legal options you have to incentivise the employer further, 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.
Hi Ben,
I would be so very grateful to read your detailed advice in terms of legal options to put my case best to my employer. Thank you very much for the concise, accessible advice that you have given me so far re my health position. (I have never been registered disabled.) This will stand me in good stead for my meeting with occupational health on the morning of Monday 4th April.
Looking forward to hearing from you
Best Wishes
Nicky Bingham
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Whilst I understand that you are not a registered disabled person, in law a disability is not determined by that but by meeting certain criteria. In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’. The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”. I will break this definition down:Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.) If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled. As mentioned the employer may be somewhat reluctant to accept you for redundancy simply based on the fact that you may not be able to perform your job fully in the future as they could be accused of discrimination. However, there is a way around that and it is by terminating your employment through a settlement agreement. By signing that you legally promise not to make any claims against the employer and in turn they pay you off and let you leave for whatever reasons they want. So you can propose this to them – you can bring the health issues to their attention, advise that that this is why you may be the best choice for redundancy now and say that you are prepared to leave under a settlement agreement so that they have the security that you would not accuse them of discrimination in the future.