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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49866
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been employed by my employers for nearly 24 years.

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I have been employed by my employers for nearly 24 years. They now want to close the branch and bring me to the main site. My hours of work for all of these years have been from 8.45 am to 13.00 monday to friday with an additional 7.5 hours typing to do when it is convenient within the week. I have no allotted time for this. They have now given me a slip of paper giving new hours of employment. These are as follows:- (8 -1 monday) (2 - 6.30 tuesday) (8-1 and 2-6.30 wednesday) (2 - 6.30 thursday) and (2 - 6.30 friday). I have afternoon committments and these hours do not suit me. I have asked can I be made redundant and they have refused.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have they said why redundancy is not an option? Please note i am in tribunal today so may not be able to respind fully until this afternoon thanks
JACUSTOMER-3uqc8794- :

Hello Ben they have said that they are offering me a job and therefore they do not have to give me redundancy.

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. This is a redundancy situation because your current workplace is closing down and you are being required to relocate.

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. Whilst you cannot force the employer to make you redundant, even if there is no SAE available, it does mean you can challenge their decision and take them to the employment tribunal to pursue them for the redundancy you should have been given.

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

JACUSTOMER-3uqc8794- :

Thank you Ben. This has cleared up a few areas that I was unsure about. I am a Branch Manager and have been so for the past 22 years. If I move to the main site I will lose my status.

Ben Jones :

the loss of status, the change in working times - these are all factors you can use to argue that the job offered is unsuitable and that it can be rejected. It is not as simple as the employer offering you any job - it still has to be suitable to your circumstances

Ben Jones :

hope this clears up things for you?

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your services. Hopefully they will be very useful.

you are welcome, all the best