Due to these uncertain times redundancies may seem like the only option for businesses to consider. However, it is worth looking at other options to enable you to retain experienced and skilled staff.
• Freezing or reducing recruitment. Can existing staff take on the tasks for a temporary period.
• Restricting or banning overtime.
• Redeploying staff- is there another area of the business that is busier than the other.
• Job share- can employees agree on a job share on a temporary basis, ensuring that there is a written agreement in place?
• Offer sabbaticals or career breaks to employees.
• Seek flexible working requests to reduce hours or days in work.
• Are there savings to be made in other areas of the business such as entertainment, reviewing supplier costs?
• Offer voluntary redundancy.
• Review whether you would need to lay off casual or contract staff;
o An employer may wish to deal with an unexpected downturn in its business or unforeseen circumstances (such as production at its premises being interrupted) by laying off employees or putting them on short-time working.
Broadly, laying off employees means that the employer provides employees with no work (and no pay) for a period while retaining them as employees; short-time working means providing employees with less work (and less pay) for a period while retaining them as employees. Unlike dismissal, it is a temporary solution to the problem of no or less work. An employer will be looking to save money when it lays people off or puts them on short-time working, by not paying them or by paying them less for a certain period.
Employers should be aware that there will be a breach of contract where the employer lays off employees or puts them on short-time working without the contractual right to do so.
This is a complex area and we would advise that legal advice should be sought before actioning this.
We appreciate that these are challenging times and we are here to help! Please contact us on 0161 478 3800.