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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50490
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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My employer is undertaking a restructure and has asked for

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Good afternoon,
My employer is undertaking a restructure and has asked for expressions of interest (EOI) for voluntary redundancy (VR) and early retirement (ER).
20 of us have expressed an interest.
We have received a letter on 31 October from our employer titled EOI VR/ER. We have been asked to sign a statement (by 10 Nov) which reads ‘I understand and agree to redundancy. I understand that I will be issued with notice of the termination of my contract of employment on the grounds of redundancy. I understand that I will be dismissed from employment with (name of employer) and will not be entitled to redeployment support.’ Employment will cease on 31.3.18.
We have been asked to sign this, but we have not had any consultation. We do not know what the financial package will be. We have a ready reckoner to calculate the VR and we have our annual pension statements, but we have not been told if there will be an enhanced package or not. If we sign this we are agreeing to VR/ER before we have the individual final financial details. We will have to leave the organisation and cannot be a part of the restructure process going forward. The first briefing about the proposed new structure is scheduled for 10 Nov. If we sign this and then decide not to leave as the VR/ER is not enough where to we stand?A colleague has also had an email which states 'Please be assured that you are under no obligation to accept this offer by the 10th November, however, if you choose not to accept it you will be expected to participate in the full consultation process. It cannot be guaranteed that there will be an opportunity to request Voluntary Redundancy or Early Retirement once this process has commenced or if there is that it will be agreed.'
The title of the letter is EOI, yet we are signing to agree to redundancy.Is what the employer doing legal? Can the employer ask us to sign the agreement before we have had all the information? How should we proceed?
Thank you.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

So how long have you worked for this employer for?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have worked for 23 years. Other for different lengths. What we would like to know is can the employer ask us to sign the letter without providing all financial and other info and no consultation. Thank you.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Please can you let me know the position today. I have to sign the letter by 10th November so will need to send on 9 November. Thank you

Hi there, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. Even if the employer is offering VR, they would be legally required to follow a fair redundancy procedure before making the employees redundant. This would involve consulting with the affected employees and having a bunch of volunteers would not remove that requirement.

That aside, you should be told what you are signing up to. If the employer is being cagey about it then either do not sign, or sign with the wording “subject to contract” or “subject to agreeing redundancy package”. Something along those lines so that it is clear you are not agreeing to this until you have also agreed on the package you are leaving under.

So what the employer is dong is not illegal (at least in terms of not giving you the redundancy package in advance), but it can make it difficult for them to say you are bound by any subsequent offer if you have not seen it beforehand and should allow you to rescind the redundancy offer.

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