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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49789
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Ben, I have 25+ year continuous service with my company and

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Hi Ben,
I have 25+ year continuous service with my company and I am looking to take a secondment for a period of 10 months within my company (i.e. to another role in a different department in the same company). My current manager/department has said that "given the length of the secondment we cannot hold the role open" and I "have no rights to come back to a role in <> nor any redundancy options if you don't secure a role after the secondment".
Is this correct? I was of the understanding that my current manager/department would have to leave the role open to me or find a similar role for me on my return. Surely if my substantive post is not available and there is no job at the end then that is a redundancy situation?
Thank you.

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

Is it likely that your original role will not be available?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben. I don't know. I would not normally be aware of any changes taking place in the organisation.

Thank you. When you go on secondment the employer has a right to decide whether to hold the substantive role open for you, or if they make no guarantees about holding your role open for you. Either is possible really and the choice is theirs. You should however be advised about the options and their decision in advance of agreeing to the secondment so that you know what you are getting yourself in for before you make that choice.

In the event that they say the role will not be guaranteed on your return, it does not mean you will automatically be entitled to redundancy if nothing else can be found. If your role is not guaranteed on your return then once you go on secondment, you are technically no longer attached to that role. Therefore, if the role is no longer available you are not being made redundant from it because you no longer did it and were guaranteed it on return. You cannot be made redundant from a role you do not do and have no rights over. That is why the employer can do what they have suggested and the employment will likely then be terminated for ‘some other substantial reason’ which is a potentially fair reason for dismissal and would not attract any redundancy pay.

Of course if you were unhappy with the terms on your return, you do not have to take the secondment so you should only do so if you are happy with what will happen at the end of it.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi Ben,
Thank you for your response and apologies for the delay in responding.If I can summarise:
- my manager doesn't have to hold the role open for me
- my manager doesn't have to help find another role for me on my return and
- I am not entitled to redundancy if there is no role for me on my returnIs this correct?My conclusion is therefore that I cannot accept the terms of the secondment offered as I have no guarantee that my employment with my employer can continue after the secondment ends.Thank you.

Hi there

Your understanding is correct. What happens on your return from secondment is something which needs to be agreed between you and the employer. There is no automatic legal right to return to your old role or to be made redundant. That is why it is imperative to negotiate your rights with the employer before accepting any secondment position. If you believe that the terms on offer are unsuitable then you cannot be forced to go on secondment. Similarly, the employer cannot be forced to let you go on secondment, but if they agree to it then it can be on their terms, which you should be satisfied with before accepting to move. Hope this clarifies?

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