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10 things you can, should and must do before making someone redundant

10 things you can, should and must do before making someone redundant

Making your employees redundant is hard. It’s natural to feel a burden when you hold the fate of others in your hands. In our latest blog, we set out what you can, should and must do during the redundancy process to make sure it’s carried out fairly, sensitively and legally.  

Redundancy best practice: what can I do when making someone redundant?  

 We’ve detailed 10 things you can do to handle your redundancy process fairly and sensitively: 

  1. Provide your employees with as much notice as possible and start consultation as early as you can. Listen and consider all suggestions as part of consultation. 
  2. Invite employees to volunteer for redundancy in the first instance and consider a ‘sweetener’ – i.e., above the statutory minimum for those that volunteer first if budget allows. 
  3. Use defined selection criteria which can include interviews to select employees for redundancy.  
  4. Clearly communicate redundancy selection criteria to your employees and allow  employees ask questions about the selection process. Consider all alternatives to redundancy. Redundancy should only be a LAST resort. Remember, it’s the role that is being made redundant. 
  5. Schedule more than one meeting (as part of the consultation process) to allow employees to discuss selection criteria and give them plenty of opportunities to consider their options. 
  6. Be flexible on notice periods – i.e., allow them to leave early – the decision is ultimately yours, but if they’re keen to move on, try to support and facilitate this. 
  7. If budget allows, consider going beyond the minimum statutory redundancy requirements. 
  8. Consider offering emotional support and access to counselling – it’s a stressful process, so listen and help where you can. 
  9. Be flexible about allowing employees to book time off to attend external interviews  
  10. Look after those who are not leaving, they need support too! 

Remember – communicate, communicate, communicate and then communicate some more.

What should I ideally do when making someone redundant? 

 Your employees are entitled to a fair and objective process, so implementing the following steps will help things to run smoothly.  

 10 things you should do during the redundancy process: 

  1.  Explore alternatives – for example, alternative roles with similar pay, skills and conditions, before making your decision. Redundancy should always be a last resort  
  2. Explain why it’s happening and provide an estimated timeline. 
  3. Define and explain the criteria for redundancy. 
  4. Emphasise at the first consultation meeting that no decisions have been made and you wish to work with your employees to find the best solution for everyone. 
  5. Take the consultation seriously – your employees may have some fantastic ideas you hadn’t considered. 
  6. Invite employees to at least one 1-2-1 meeting. 
  7. Take and circulate minutes of all meetings. 
  8. Prepare a matrix of employment criteria to choose the most suitable roles to retain and let go. Remember, it’s the roles being made redundant, not the people! 
  9. Inform employees in writing if their roles are being considered for redundancy  
  10. Inform affected team members they can appeal your decision. 

 Keep an open mind ahead of the redundancy process and make sure you support your employees as much as you can, such as helping with CVs, interview tips, references, outplacement support or offering training to assist them in securing another role internally.   

What do I have to do when making someone redundant? 

 Under the 1996 Employment Rights Act, employees can be made redundant if the following statements are wholly or partly true: 

  •  The employer ceases to continue the business 
  • The employer ceases to continue the business in the location where the employee worked 
  • The need for employee/s to do work of a particular nature ceases or reduces 
  • The employer no longer needs work of a particular nature to be carried out in the location where the employee worked  

 When it comes to your legal responsibilities, here are 10 things you must do before making someone redundant: 

  1.  Give a paid notice period ahead of redundancy (the length depends on employees’ contract and length of service). 
  2. Carry out a meaningful consultation process to justify your reasons for the redundancies and ensure the process is fair and objective. 
  3. Invite employees to take part in the consultation process in writing. 
  4. Ask employees to attend at least one meeting during the process. 
  5. Detail any severance payments in writing. Employees with more than two years’ service are entitled to at least the statutory minimum. 
  6. Don’t use a “last in, first out” approach – that ended years ago. 
  7. Pay furloughed employees redundancy pay based on their standard wage, not their furlough wage. 
  8. Ensure it’s a fair process that doesn’t discriminate. Selection is based on set criteria that should not discriminate.  
  9. Don’t pre-select employees before the consultation period or selection period. 
  10. Do allow reasonable time off for job interviews. 

 Help for employers during the redundancy process 

 Handling human emotions is always challenging, and every business has different needs and experiences.  

 Our expert advice will ease your redundancy process and help achieve a positive outcome for all.  

 You can also download our free restructuring kit, full of advice and useful templates, to help you steer your business through times of change. 

 Need extra support in making redundancies? Crosse HR are experts in understanding you and your business, and we’re here to help. Together, we can find the right redundancy solution for your workplace and implement it smoothly and successfully. 

 Contact us on 0330 555 1139 or hello@crossehr.co.uk  

 

Working from home: how can you continue to support remote employees?

Working from home: how can you continue to support remote employees?

Although it’s become the norm, working from home is still a polarising concept. While fans of the remote life are keen to make it permanent, others crave the buzz of the office as they grapple with feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

Yet, despite these feelings being widespread, the government is urging us to continue working from home where possible until all COVID restrictions are lifted on 21 JuneA year on, remote working has changed the way we work forever. 

So, how can employers keep supporting home workers in the coming weeks – and beyond? 

 

Working from home statistics – an overview

  

According to the Office for National Statistics, April 2020 saw 46.6% of UK employees work from home in some capacity –86% of them doing so because of the pandemic.   

Recent research by the University of Nottingham and Stanford University revealed that post-pandemic, 40% of workers surveyed want to continue working remotely two or three days a week.  

Interestingly, 76% of people felt perceptions of home working had improved as a result of the pandemic. 

 

What challenges are homeworkers still facing? 

 

A report from the Royal Society for Public Health revealed 67% of homeworkers felt less connected to colleagues, and 56% found it hard to switch off while home-based. Yet only 34% received mental health support from their employer.   

As we face another six weeks of enforced home working, employers must maintain measures to support employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.  

 

WFH employee checklist

 

Keep up the support for your remote working team by continuing to: 

Check-in regularly

Maintaining excellent communication levels for the last lap will inform how you shape your working practices moving forward.   

Whether it’s a weekly Zoom or a daily call, we all know clear communication channels are the key to a happy remote workforce. 

Personalise your approach

Everyone likes to communicate differently, so you have to understand your employees individually to support them effectively. Some may love a daily WhatsApp check-in; others may find group chats overwhelming, so take a sensitive approach to strike the right balance.  

Be approachable

Everyday life is challenging for us all, so be open-minded and flexible where possible.  

Approachability is critical: if your team feels comfortable giving you a heads up that they’re struggling to meet a deadline, you can make adjustments and stay on track. 

Have fun 

Without in-person watercooler chats and Friday pizza, work can feel all-too-serious. So, keep scheduling those virtual coffee breaks and remote socials to encourage your team to switch off and have fun.  

And if everyone has Zoom fatigue by now, a surprise early finish or an unexpected brownie box landing on their doorstep can brighten up even the gloomiest remote worker.  

 

How can employers ease the transition into more permanent remote working solutions? 

 

The next step you take as a business could significantly impact your future productivity and morale, so tread carefully to ensure you make the right decisions.  

Ask your employees what their ideal situation would be. Do they want to work from home permanently? Are they desperate to get back to the office? Or, is there a happy medium of agile working between the two settings? 

Find out what works for your employees, then look carefully at how you can make this work for your business. After all, giving your team the freedom to integrate work more seamlessly into their lives will ultimately boost morale, retention, and productivity.  

 

Making the return to work easy 

 

If you feel you need support welcoming your team back into the workplace, our free return to work toolkit is a great place to start.   

It’s full of helpful information, guidance, procedures, and policies you can implement to ease the transition and successfully support your team through the change with zero disruption to your business.  

 

Access more help supporting your team  

 

If you need further help to support your team or you have specific questions about remote or flexible working, we can help. Contact the Crosse HR team by calling 0330 555 1139 or emailing hello@crossehr.co.uk   

 

Decisions Decisions…. 

Decisions Decisions…. 

Toss a coin and see if you are disappointed”. We used to say this a lot as teenagers when struggling to make decisions or work out if we had made the right one. Today I deal with business owners making decisions all day long big and smallDecision making without proper consideration can result in costly mistakes, whilst slow decision making can cripple a business with indecision and result in lost opportunities. 

Consider where you sit on the decision-making spectrum. 

Quick Decision Making 
 
 
 
Slow Decision Making 
Act now deal with any consequences later 
Quick sense check of financial impact 
Review info promptly, discuss and decide 
Canvass multiple opinions 
Canvass multiple opinions and prepare multiple scenarios 

 

Think about the impact of your approach, is it right for your business and is it right for you. Would you like to move along the spectrum in either direction or consider what you need to do that? 

Financial Impact 

You don’t need a detailed forecast every time you make a decision, but you do need to understand the financial impact. A couple of examples might be – 

Change in sales Mix – Consider if you have the key data established to enable you to understand for example the impact of a change in sales mix. It is often straight forward to pick up the external costs for any changes but think also about the impact on your time, your margins and that of your team of any change.  

 New clients – Growth requires investment so understanding how much you will need to pay out in outsource costs, product costs, system changes or new staff costs will influence your funding requirements. 

 Canvassing Opinion 

Think about who you talk to when making decisions about the business  is it too many or not enough?   

Do you currently make all decisions yourself with no additional input and does that feel right to you or conversely do you ask too many people and acknowledge this then delays your decision making?   

You need to ensure you are asking the right people the right questions…. think carefully about their experiences, one might be right for financials, one for culture, one for process changes. 

 Challenge and Support 

Consider who you have around you when making these decisions too – we can all get stuck in our ways. Think about the last time someone told you your idea wasn’t quite right, how did you react- did you listen, and did you consider your position?   

Surround yourself with good people with complementary skill sets who you trust and who you know will both challenge and support you. 

Consider other business owners with similar challenges perhaps you can create a partnership to challenge and hold each other accountable. You may have other senior team members who you can be more open with and encourage them to bring new ideas and challenge the status quo.  

What next? 

  • Be honest about where you are on the spectrum. 
  • Write three bullet points which state what level of support and challenge you feel you need. 
  • Consider your wider network and internal team and who could fulfil this role to help improve your decision-making. 
What you need to know about redundancy – an employer’s guide

What you need to know about redundancy – an employer’s guide

Right now, we know you’re facing tough decisions in the workplace, and redundancies are commonplace. Yet, a lack of basic understanding still surrounds redundancy in many businesses.  

Our free restructuring toolkit is full of essential information and resources, including a general guide to redundancy, how the redundancy process works and templates for your business plan, consultations, meeting records, notice periods and at-risk employee communications.  

 In this blog, we’ll give you an insight into what you’ll find in our restructuring toolkit and answer your top 10 most pressing redundancy questions. Read on to gain a clear, practical grasp of redundancy to move forward confidently.  

#1 – I have four people and three jobs. Can I make the last one redundant? 

 No, the last in, first out criteria was abolished years ago, as it paved the way for claims of indirect age and gender discrimination and unfair dismissal. Instead, use selection criteria or a competitive interview process to determine who you will make redundant. 

#2 – Can I make redundant employees work their notice period? 

 Yes, as per the terms of their contract. Although employees can try to negotiate a shorter notice period with you, that’s your decision. If your employees refuse to work out their notice, they’ll be in breach of their contract, and you won’t have to pay them for this period.  

#3 – Do I have to pay redundancy? 

 Yes. If your employees have more than two years’ service, they’re entitled to a statutory redundancy payment paid out by the employer.  

#4 – Do I have to pay a redundancy notice? 

 Yes. Regardless of the length of service, all employees are entitled to a paid notice period during a redundancy.  

#5 – Can I make a pregnant employee redundant? 

 Yes, although not because she is pregnant. If you wish to make a pregnant employee redundant, you must follow the proper process and ensure her job is genuinely redundant. If you fail to do this, your employee can claim unfair dismissal on the grounds of her gender and circumstances. 

#6 – Can I reinstate the job after making someone redundant? 

 No. The point of redundancy is that the job no longer exists, so you don’t require that employee’s services to fulfil it. If you immediately advertise for the same position after making someone redundant, it isn’t a genuine redundancy, and you could face legal action.  

#7 – If business picks up following a redundancy process, can I reinstate the job? 

 You should wait between six to 12 months after a redundancy process before introducing and advertising for a similar role, or it won’t be a genuine redundancy. If trade has improved significantly after this period, you can review your requirements and proceed accordingly.  

#8 – An employee I wanted to retain has volunteered for redundancy. What should I do? 

 Redundancy is an employer’s choice, not the employee’s. So, ultimately, it’s your decision to make. However, if your employee is volunteering for redundancy, they are likely to be unhappy in their job and may look elsewhere. Therefore, talk to the employee to address any concerns or issues they have to see if you can help them feel happier in their role. 

#9 – Can I take redundant employees back if business picks up?  

Yes, you can and should. 

#10 – How do I stop redundant employees suing me?  

You can’t unless you ask them to sign a Settlement Agreement. All employees have a right to take their claim to an employment tribunal if they feel you’ve treated them unlawfully. However, if you’re confident you’ve followed procedure and treated employees fairly, this shouldn’t pose an issue to your business. 

How do I find bespoke redundancy support?  

In this blog, we’ve covered the 10 most common questions you’ve asked us about redundancy.  

However, if we haven’t answered your question here and you need further advice, we can offer you bespoke support designed around your needs and circumstances.   

There’s no need to deal with your HR headache alone – let us ease the pain by providing practical support.   

 Call us on 0330 555 1139 or email hello@crossehr.co.uk, and let’s see how we can help you navigate redundancies with confidence.

 

Here comes change: key dates and facts on IR35 and EU Settlement Status

Here comes change: key dates and facts on IR35 and EU Settlement Status

Change is coming: are you prepared? This April, the new financial year brings significant changes to the employer landscape – namely, IR35 and the EU settlement scheme. Read on for the key facts and dates you need to know to ensure your business is ready.

IR35

IR35 applies to people who work for a business in a self-employed capacity but are essentially employees. Clamping down on this practice, changes to UK law will see HMRC recover unpaid tax and National Insurance from businesses if they believe employers are guilty of using self-employment loopholes to avoid giving employees necessary rights and benefits.

From 1 April 2021, companies that employ more than 50 employees or have a turnover of over £10.2 million will need to pay tax or National Insurance for workers or contractors who are essentially employees.

What’s the difference between an employee and a contractor?

Employees have a contract, paid holidays, PAYE, pensions, and a host of employment rights. Meanwhile, self-employed freelancers, workers, and contractors submit invoices, aren’t entitled to holiday or sick pay, and don’t share the same rights as employees.

EU settled status

Another critical change coming to the world of employment is the EU settled status. This applies to businesses with EU citizens working for them, as the individuals will have to reapply for residency status.

Post-Brexit, EU workers can only remain in the UK if they arrived before 31 December 2020 and have applied for residency via the EU Settlement Scheme.

Once individuals have settled status, they’re free to remain in the UK indefinitely and may be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Pre-settled status is available to those who have been in the UK for less than five years. It permits them to stay for five years, after which they can choose to apply for full settled status if they wish to remain here.

The good news is, there’s still time to apply for EU settled status if you or your employees haven’t done it yet.

The deadline for employees to apply for EU settled status is 30 June 2021. It’s free, and you can do it here: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

If you’re unsure whether your employees have a legal right to work in the UK post-Brexit, you can check here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checklist

Can I still employ someone from outside the UK post-Brexit?

Free movement between the UK and the EU ended on 31 December 2020, and a new points-based immigration system is in place in the UK.

So, while you can still employ people from the EU to work in your business following Brexit, they must score the necessary points and have a relevant work permit or status, and you must have a sponsor licence from the Home Office.

Skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor must have a skill level equivalent of RQF3 (equivalent to A level), speak English, score 70 points on the system, and earn at least £25,600 (or the “going rate” for the job).

Employees earning lower salaries may still apply by “trading” points, or if their job is on the shortage occupation list.

You may also transfer an employee from another part of your international business to work in the UK via an “intra-company transfer”, but certain stipulations apply.

Need help preparing for IR35 or post-Brexit employment?

Hopefully, this summary will help you work through the changes coming up in 2021.

If you still need any advice or support, we’re here to help. Call us on 0330 555 1139 or drop us a line at hello@crossehr.co.uk

You can also take a look at our webinar below, delivered for RIBA West London to share some insight on HR matters currently affecting their members.  After many interminable months of furlough doom and gloom, it was great to talk about how businesses can prepare for the future: 

  • Brexit and work permits 
  • IR35 and the impact on contracts 
  • Restructuring
  • And more 

 Check out the recording below and ensure you plan for the upcoming change.