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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49868
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I work in publishing and I have been seconded from my contracted

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I work in publishing and I have been seconded from my contracted role to another dept. within my company for the past 18 months.
During this 18 month period, my contracted role was not back-filled and no-one effectively took my place.
The contracted is also a managerial position and the size of the dept. I am responsible for has shrunk from 22 heads to 12.
The focus of the team has also shifted from print products to digital products, and I feel a significant part of my role's remit is now managed by another internal team.
The secondment is now coming to an end and I believe that my original contracted role is redundant.
When I discussed this with the management team and our internal HR dept. I was told
"There is an argument to say that there is no need for (my role) for the next 6 months" (quote from manager)
If I was to return to my contracted role, then there would be a role for me but if I wasn't to return, then they might wait up to 2 years before replacing me in the role.
My questions is whether or not I have a case for redundancy? And if so, how I best go about putting my case forward.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you been employed by this company for?


Sorry - I couldn't reply initially.
9 years

Ben Jones :

Was there any guarantee that you would return to your original role at the end of the secondment?


There was a guarantee that my contracted role would be available to me should I wish to return to it at the end of the secondment.

Ben Jones :

ok thanks let me get my response ready please


I have also been told that even if my original contracted role had changed, then I would be offered a "reasonable alternative" - but I have no idea as to what factors would be measured in determining a "reasonable alternative" and how I would go about arguing that the role has changed so significantly it no longer resembles my contracted role...

Ben Jones :

If a job no longer exists and the employer no longer needs employees doing a particular jobs, or simply has a reduced need for employees doing nit, then that could amount to a potential redundancy situation.

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, trying to go for redundancy instead. The issue is that you cannot force the employer to make you redundant so if they refuse and you believe that the offer is not suitable, you can raise a grievance first, but after that the only option is to resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal.

Ben Jones :

you can also ignore the timer


OK - many thanks.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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