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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44385
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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In a permanent position with a company years was under

Customer Question

In a permanent position with a company for 8 years was under threat of redundancy since Nov 2015, in April 16 company announced new structure and my existing role had been upgraded and the job description and requirements ‘modified’ to reflect the seniority of the new position.
Applied for the new role, was successful in securing it, got told today that my salary had risen from £32,500 to £36,500 and there are new benefits that were not existent in the original role.
The place of work, hours and nature of work (Management Accountant) all remain the same as previously. The job title has gone from Divisional Accountant to Buisness Control Accountant.
I need to understand that if I do not accept this new role (that I have had to interview for) that I would still be eligible for my redundancy payment.(which was a mix of Statutory and enhanced EWC based)
In the interim from Nov to now I have verbally informed my line manager that my home circumstances had changed. I told them that my wife was no longer able to work in her part time job in a school due to health reasons. I said that she will need to stop working by Summer 2016
I said this (it wasn’t documented anywhere) partly because it is true and partly to assist me with salary negotiations should I be offered the role.
It transpires that the offer of £36,500 is not enough to compensate for my wife stopping working so now I am in a predicament.
Therefore, I have told them today that I will need to think about the offer before accepting/refusing on the spot. I need to get back to them on Tuesday with a definite thank you or no thank you.
I do not think they will come back to me with a ‘revised offer’ in light of the above but I want to know how I stand legally in this situation.
I ultimately will be happy to go and take the redundancy and seek new opportunities, but I would not want to turn the job down and then be effectively ‘resigning’ and not getting the redundancy.
If from a legal perspective I am entitled to redundancy how would I need to notify them? So, do I say I cant take the job because of personal circumstances or would I say I don’t believe it is a ‘suitable alternative’
Many Thanks
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you been given a deadline by which to respond?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have to inform them by Tuesday
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello Ben,
Are you working on the response as the site told me I should expect an answer at some point today?Rgds
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello Gary, I am sorry, with the bank holiday I have not been on much, but I am catching up on some question at the moment so please find my response below.

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. In some ways the offer looks suitable because it is higher salary, the terms have not changed to your detriment, such as being moved to a new location, or been given duties which are on the whole going to be considered unsuitable.

On the other hand, whether an employee's refusal was reasonable depends on the subjective reasons the particular employee has for rejecting it (and not whether a hypothetical "reasonable employee" would have accepted it). This will cover factors relating to the employee's personal circumstances such as their personal and family commitments. So an employee is entitled to have regard to their life outside the workplace when considering whether to accept their employer's offer of a suitable alternative job.

So you may rely on the personal reasons behind your decision not to accept this position and use these as to why you believe it is unsuitable, even if under normal circumstances it may have been.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of how to progress the matter 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, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 44385
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Great, thanks Ben. If you could provide that further advice on how to proceed I would be most grateful.
In particular, how would I need to draft the letter to them without jeopardising my redundancy payment.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

ok thanks I will respond later today thanks

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 months ago.

Hello again, as mentioned the reasonableness f a refusal of suitable alternative employment is judged on a variety of factors but most importantly it is a subjective decision based on the employee’s own personal situation and what makes it unsuitable for them.

When you contact them over this I would void reminding them that the position may be deemed suitable for you and instead you should concentrate on the factors which make it unsuitable and advise them of these. State that you are therefore rejecting the offer they have made and that you would instead be taking up the option of redundancy, which is what you are entitled to if you are not taking up any alternative employment with them.

The only issue is that you cannot force them to accept that the refusal was reasonable and they could try and argue that it was not and refuse to pay redundancy. This does mean that if you cannot reach an amicable resolution you will have to challenge this by making a claim in the employment tribunal for the redundancy you were due. The good news is that the employer has the burden of showing both that the alternative employment offered was suitable and that the employee's refusal was unreasonable so if they cannot do so, the tribunal will rule in your favour.

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