My role is redundant – is the new role offered suitable alternative employment?
A redundancy situation can arise where there is a business closure, workplace closure or there is a reduction in the requirements of a business for employees to do a particular kind of work.
As a general rule, if you have been made redundant, you may be entitled to a redundancy payment, a notice period, a consultation with your employer and time off to find a new job. Before making you redundant, your employer is also under the obligation to search the organisation to find an alternative position for you. If your employer fails to do so, you may have been unfairly dismissed.
If you refuse the alternative position and the alternative position is substantially different to your existing role, you will still be entitled to a redundancy payment.
However, if you are offered a suitable alternative position and unreasonably refuse this role, you will be treated as having been dismissed but you may lose your entitlement to a redundancy payment under section 141(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
There are two limbs to the test to determine whether a position constitutes suitable alternative employment:
According to the initial employer assessment, is the role capable of being suitable alternative employment?
To satisfy this limb, your employer should consider how similar the new role is to the existing role.
Amongst other factors, your employer may consider the following:
Are you suitably qualified to carry out the new role or will you require further training?
Is the salary attached to the new position substantially different to your existing position?
Will you need to make adjustments to your commute? If you accept the new role, will this cause you to incur further travel expenses and spend longer travelling to and from work?; and
Will the new role require you to alter your working hours? This is particularly relevant if you are employed on a shift pattern. For example, you currently work 9-5, five days per week but the new position requires you to work evenings or weekends.
- Is it suitable for you?
To determine this, your employer can consider the following factors:
How the offer was made – Have you been offered a reasonable period of time to decide whether to accept or refuse the offer?
The conduct of your employer- Has your employer acted inappropriately or unfairly during the process to find suitable alternative employment?
The duration of the employment – it may be reasonable to refuse a new position if it is temporary; and
Your personal circumstances – for example, the hours and location of the new role make it difficult for you to pick up your children from school or the role requires you to relocate.
It is quite rare for an employer to deny a redundancy payment to an employee on the grounds that they unreasonably refused an offer of suitable alternative employment. If you are uncertain as to whether you have been offered suitable alternative employment, speak to one of the employment law experts at Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or complete our online contact form.