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Free EnquiryRedundancy Law for Employers In Scotland Explained

Almost all employers face the prospect of making redundancies at some point in their professional career. However, not all employers go about it correctly. Failing to follow the proper guidelines when making redundancies can leave an employer wide open to litigation. Redundancy law is there to protect employers as much as it is to protect employees. Having a good understanding of the procedures involved can make a potentially stressful situation run as smooth as possible.

Planning, consultation and selection

The redundancy process can be broken down into three main components; planning, consultation and selection. The key to implementing successful redundancies that offer no opportunity for legal redress is communication. Employees should be made aware of an employer’s intentions and given a chance to air their views at every stage of the procedure.

In planning redundancies, an employer must draw up a plan that shows who is to be made redundant and give legitimate reasons as to why that person or persons have been selected. These plans must be discussed with the workforce in good time so that employees have a reasonable period of time in which to apply for a new job or to contest the proposal. It is also the employer’s responsibility to listen to and consider any alternatives to redundancy that employees may make.

The next part of the redundancy process is consultation. In effect, this means that the employer must inform employees’ representatives such as Trades Unions of the decision and again discuss the reasons behind it. Failure to do this could result in an Employment Tribunal awarding a Protective Award to employees. This means that the employer must keep employees on and continue to pay them for a period of time, whether they are actually working or not. There are also certain procedures to be followed depending on the number of employees to be made redundant. If the number is more than 20 but less than 100, the employer must inform the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) 30 days before the redundancies. If the number is in excess of 100, then the BERR must be informed 90 days prior to the decision.

Fair and impartial

The selection process must be seen to be fair and impartial. If it is based on any form of discrimination such as race, disability or age, then there is the potential for any employees treated this way to launch a legal claim for unfair dismissal. Throughout the process employees must be informed of the reasons behind their redundancy and given enough time to respond.

The alternative to redundancy is for the employer to offer the employee alternate work within the company, although the employee has the right to refuse this. The job must offer similar pay, require similar skills and operate under similar conditions to the employee’s previous work. If an alternative job offer is made, it must be made before the current job ends and no more than four weeks after it has ended.

Much of the redundancy law for employers is based around common sense and courtesy. However, ignoring the finer legal points could result in an investigation from a Redundancy Tribunal.

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