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“I need to make employees redundant due to the coronavirus outbreak. What do I need to know?”

The outbreak of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, has caused ripples across every industry. Uncertainty, lack of demand and enforced closures are forcing businesses to change the way they operate and a lot of difficult decisions are being made.

If you are an employer that needs to make redundancies as a result of coronavirus, it is essential that the correct procedures are followed. The increasing number of redundancies being reported on in the media may create the illusion that this is an immediate way to reduce costs.  However,  if done incorrectly a business could be faced with crippling compensation claims that outweigh the costs savings that were anticipated from the process. 

Even in times such as these, a fair redundancy selection and consultation process must be followed. Some of the key things to consider are:

·         Establishing pools for selection for redundancies, fair and objective selection criteria, fairly applying such criteria, considering alternative employment and consulting on an individual basis with those affected. The selection process must be objective and cannot discriminate on protected characteristics or personal preference.

·         If you are looking to make more than 20 members of staff redundant then the consultation must begin at least 30 days before the first dismissal and consultation should be with a union representative or employee elected representatives.  For 100+ employees this period increases to 45 days.

·         Affected employees must be given the correct notice, statutory or the notice outlined in their contract of employment.

For more information on the risks of unfair dismissal claims in the coronavirus crisis, read here.

If you would like further advice on the redundancy process, or information on the alternatives to redundancy during this time, then our expert employment team is here to

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