Redeployment and redundancy guide (August 2007; revised December 2012)
1.1 This guide is intended to help you to manage the redundancy process successfully. Please read this guide alongside the formal Standard Redeployment and Redundancy Agreement – appendix A14.1. This guide does not cover redundancies under the Limited Term Contract (LTC) Redundancy Agreement (2005) - see appendix A14.11, LTC Redundancy Agreement (May 2005; revised July 2011).
- Voluntary Exit
- Voluntary Redundancy
- Compulsory Redundancy
1.3 Voluntary redundancy will be implemented before compulsory. Voluntary exit will only be used in exceptional circumstances. Guidance notes on early departure terms for staff are available on the jsspensions.nerc.ac.uk
2.1 Under section 139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, as amended, which deals with the right to a redundancy payment, an employee is “taken to be dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is attributable wholly or mainly to:
- The fact that the employer has ceased, or intends to cease, to carry on the business for the purposes of which the employee was employed by them, or has ceased, or intends to cease, to carry on that business in the place where the employee was so employed
- The fact that the requirements of that business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, or for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where they were so employed, have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish”
“the references to dismissal as redundant are references to dismissal for a reason not related to the individual concerned or for a number of reasons all of which are not so related”.
These definitions apply to the BBSRC Agreement and Guidance.
2.3 In this guide, “BBSRC employment area” means those employed on JNCC terms and conditions – see Introduction to the employment code The adjectives "local" and "central" are used to describe management and trade unions: “local” refers to establishment level; “central” refers to BBSRC Office or RESAS.
2.4 Throughout this guide, specific reference to “BBSRC Office” means the People and Development Group (P&DG) in BBSRC Office unless otherwise stated. “JSS” is the Joint Superannuation Services, and “RESAS” is the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services of the Scottish Office. The NCC is the establishment’s negotiation and consultative committee. The JNCC is the BBSRC Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee.
3.2 An ‘Application for Cabinet Office Approval Form’ should be completed and sent to BBSRC Office, in order to gain approval before the redundancy procedure commences. Additionally, there is a legal obligation for establishments to notify the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, in writing, of 20 or more redundancies at an establishment. Notification is conveyed to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, using form HR1, which is obtained from The Insolvency Office and returned to the Redundancy Payments Office. A copy must also be sent to the appropriate trade union and BBSRC Office/RESAS. The minimum time limits for notification are:
- 100 or more employees at one establishment within a 90 day period or less: 90 days before the first dismissal
- 20-99 employees at one establishment within a 90 day period or less: 30 days before the first dismissal
An establishment which fails to meet the notification requirements may be fined by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
4.1 It is legitimate, on an individual post basis, for establishments to consider the scope for moving people into other suitable alternative roles (with or without retraining) as a pre-redundancy measure. This can take place at any time and may be prior to any formal consultation about possible post losses or redundancies. Internal moves which result from this process do not have to be discussed formally with the NCC Trade Union Side (the TUS), but it would normally be appropriate to bring such matters to the NCC’s attention. Establishment management must also consider ways to avoid redundancies wherever possible and, if redundancies are unavoidable, to minimise the numbers. The following pre-redundancy measures must be considered:
- Achieving some/all of the required reductions through natural wastage
- Restricting or suspending external recruitment
- Reviewing the employment of temporary contracts, where applicable
- Reducing overtime (continued overleaf)
- Recalling sub-contract work where practicable
- Inviting volunteers for part-time or job share work
- Redeploying and retraining employees to roles within the establishment
- Where a post loss is involved, the post is occupied and the post holder has not asked to be considered for voluntary redundancy
- Where an individual post loss forms part of a wider formal review of costs or activities
- Where the post loss forms part of a restructuring exercise or
- Where it is expected that redeployment will prove difficult and a redundancy may result
Such consultation triggers what is normally referred to in JNCC employment as a "formal redundancy situation".
6.1 Establishment management facing funding difficulties must advise the NCC TUS of the extent of the problem and the areas of work affected. If there are to be post losses with the possibility of redundancies then consultations must begin at the earliest possible opportunity. This requirement applies regardless of the scope for meeting the post losses by voluntary means. Establishment management must make it clear that the formal consultation process, under appendix A14.1, is commencing.
6.3.1 If an establishment’s financial position or a restructuring decision may result in the loss of occupied posts and there are no immediate redeployment prospects, establishment management should provide specific information to the NCC TUS. This will be at a properly constituted NCC meeting. If no meeting is scheduled, an extraordinary meeting must be called and must be quorate. Wherever possible, the following information should be disclosed at this meeting. If all the information is not available, further formal meetings must be called, in order to give the TUS the opportunity to comment and to seek additional information about the redundancy situation. The information to be disclosed is:
- The reasons for the redundancies
- The numbers and descriptions (i.e. the pay bands and area of work) of the individuals occupying the redundant posts
- the total number of employees currently employed at the site, broken down by pay band
- The proposed selection pool for determining an order of discharge and the criteria for selecting the individuals for compulsory redundancy. Management will take steps to ensure that the selection pool is appropriate and that the selection criteria are objective, not based on the opinion of any one individual and can be impartially checked. Any representations made by the TUS in relation to the selection pool or criteria for selection for redundancy will be carefully considered. Furthermore, every effort should be made to achieve agreement on the selection pool, the selection criteria, the operation of skills matrices and the scoring and weighting arrangements. Further information on selection criteria is contained in a separate guidance note appendix A14.3
- How the procedure will be implemented, including calls for volunteers, notice periods, investigation of redeployment opportunities
- The proposed method of calculating any redundancy payments
- Information about management's efforts to apply pre-redundancy measures
6.3.2 This information must be conveyed orally and fully minuted at the NCC meeting. It should be noted that establishments should not rely upon the unions gleaning the required information from other documents.
6.3.3 The NCC TUS has a minimum of 10 working days in which to comment or make representations, after which time another formal NCC meeting should be convened. Full minutes must be drawn up. It is important that consultation is entered into in good faith, and management is required to give careful consideration to any trade union proposals. Consultation has to be patently genuine and while it may not always be possible to reach an agreement, this should always be the objective of any discussions. If agreement is not reached, clear reasons must be given in writing for rejecting trade union proposals. Where it has not been possible to provide all the information listed in appendix A14.1, at one NCC meeting, further meetings must be offered and reasonable consultation periods allowed. If the NCC TUS is concerned that its views have not been given sufficient credence, they may refer the matter to the Director of P&DG in BBSRC Office for a ruling.
At both meetings consultation must include ways of avoiding any redundancies, avoiding compulsory redundancies, reducing the numbers involved, and mitigating the effects of any redundancies. Possible ways of avoiding or reducing the level of dismissals might include natural wastage, redeployment, suspending recruitment, reducing overtime or reviewing the employment of casual employees or use of contract work. Even if dismissals are unavoidable consultation should address the ways in which the establishment may be able to reduce the impact on employees, for example by offering resettlement training, assisting with the costs of retraining, etc.
6.4.1 Where a redundancy compensation payment under the Research Councils’ Compensation Scheme is involved, the case(s) will be referred to the BBSRC Chief Executive or equivalent for approval at this point. Post loss proposals are submitted on form RC4 (see appendix A14.6). The cost of the redundancy should also be submitted and can be calculated using the JSS employer calculator provided by JSS.
6.4.2 The post loss proposals are then circulated within BBSRC Office/RESAS and supplementary information may be sought before they are agreed. A meeting with the Director concerned may be needed, before approval can be given.
6.5 Voluntary redundancy
Once establishment management has identified that a redundancy situation exists and consultation with the NCC TUS begins there may be an establishment-wide or restricted call for volunteers.
There is no compulsion on individuals in areas where there is a need to reduce staffing levels to apply for Voluntary Redundancy but they must be made aware that they could be made compulsorily redundant at a later stage of the same scheme. Where staff do volunteer, have their application declined but are subsequently made compulsorily redundant as part of the same scheme, they will retain their entitlement to voluntary terms.
In all cases it is essential for the establishment to retain staff with the skills needed to meet future needs and therefore there is no guarantee that applications for voluntary redundancy will be accepted. Where it is possible to make an offer of voluntary redundancy a firm estimate will be provided at a meeting with HR or line management, to inform an individual’s final decision whether to accept. Individuals may withdraw their application at any stage up to the time they confirm acceptance of a formal voluntary redundancy offer.
The offer will include a notice period of three months, unless an earlier date is requested by the employee and mutually agreed, in which case compensation in lieu of notice will not be paid.
6.6 Compulsory redundancy
Consultation with the individuals who are selected for redundancy as a result of the process outlined above (the application of selection pools, selection criteria and – where applicable - skills matrices) should begin at the same time as Chief Executive's approval is sought, but not until consultation with the NCC TUS is completed.
The individual(s) will be advised in writing and at this initial formal meeting of the impending redundancy of their post(s), and told that they are formally "at risk" of redundancy. The written information they are given will:
- Explain why the establishment’s requirements for the work have ceased or diminished (justifying a post loss) and give the full reasons for the preliminary identification of the individual as redundant, including the details of the selection criteria used. The criteria will be objective and relevant. Where the individual has been selected from a group of employees undertaking broadly similar work, the relevant skills matrix will be provided
- Set out any preliminary consideration for redeployment within the establishment or more widely within JNCC employment
- Make available the option of taking voluntary redundancy terms
- Provide access to the employee calculator and a copy of the Redeployment and Redundancy Agreement.
6.6.2 Individuals must then be given a minimum of 5 working days from the date of the first meeting in which to make representations on measures to avoid redundancy, e.g. redeployment, retraining, part-time working etc. They may also contest their selection for redundancy or challenge the selection criteria; they may suggest alternatives.
A second formal meeting will then be held to hear and respond to the individual's representations. If they wish, they may be accompanied by their trade union representative or a work colleague. This second consultation meeting involves a discussion about any potential alternatives to redundancy and involves answering any questions that may be put by the individual or their representative. The individual and their representative must be given every opportunity to raise any issues that they consider to be appropriate whether these concern the rationale for redundancies or the basis for selection for redundancy or any other matter. Key points and actions must be recorded and copied to the individual. If issues arise that cannot be answered at the meeting, management must agree to investigate matters and to write a response following the meeting. At the end of this second meeting, the individual and their representative will be advised that a third formal meeting will take place a minimum of 5 working days hence.
At the third formal consultation meeting, the individual and their representative will be invited to make any further representations about the redundancy proposal. Management will give careful consideration to any representations from the individual and a written response will be provided. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or colleague at this meeting. If the representations are not supported and no suitable redeployment opportunities are identified, formal notice of redundancy will be given after the meeting, together with an estimate of compensation payment provided by JSS.
- To lodge a formal appeal against their redundancy; grounds for appeal might include unfair selection for redundancy, inappropriate selection criteria, work has not stopped, redeployment opportunities have been denied
- To seek redeployment
- To accept their redundancy
6.7.1 Options (i) and (ii) can be chosen simultaneously. In the case of an appeal, the employee has 20 working days from the date they receive their formal notice of redundancy in which to submit their appeal. Appeals are referred to the BBSRC Redundancy and Redeployment Committee (see appendix 14.4). In the case of a redeployment request, redeployment within the employee’s site is dealt with by establishment management and the NCC TUS. However, if the individual wishes to be considered for redeployment elsewhere in JNCC employment, the BBSRC Redundancy and Redeployment Committee secretariat will contact the individual to bring vacancies to their attention from the BBSRC "job shop" database and the Committee will support any credible application A14.4: Main page.
6.7.2 Although formal notice of redundancy has already been given at this point, if the individual opts for redeployment, their redundancy cannot be finalised for a minimum period of 40 working days from the date on which their redeployment request is received by the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee secretariat. During this period, their case is under active review by the Committee.
6.7.3 In the case of an appeal to the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee, the redundancy cannot be finalised until the appeal has been dealt with by the Committee and the Chief Executive (or the Head of RESAS) has reached a final decision on the appeal.
On a quarterly basis, BBSRC office will advise the JNCC TUS about numbers and grades of individuals being considered under the above processes at each establishment.
If an individual does not appeal or seek redeployment or if their appeal/redeployment request has been dealt with, management has discretion to terminate their appointment in advance of their contractual termination of notice date, subject to making a payment for CILON (appendix A14.1).
Establishment management may decide that there is insufficient work for an individual or there are security or other considerations which indicate that the individual should not remain on site while their redundancy is being processed. In such cases, management has the discretion to require the individual to take paid leave of absence, sometimes known as "gardening leave". In this event, management must ensure that their decision is conveyed in a sensitive and supportive manner by the Director or another senior member of management. The local TU representatives must be informed in advance. Management must also make sure that the individual has reasonable access to:
- Their trade union representatives
- The establishment’s Staff Support Group (if applicable)
- Resettlement training and counselling services
- The Employment Code
- Facilities which they may need to construct an appeal, to help with job searches or for other purposes linked to their redundancy
- The BBSRC JobShop database
- The Redundancy and Redeployment Committee secretariat (where applicable)
10. Outplacement assistance (also called ‘Resettlement’)
- Job hunting and applications
- Interviews skills
- Starting a business
- Investing a lump sum/living on reduced income
- Stress management
- State benefits
11.1 To enable individuals affected to make fully informed decisions, they must be given access to the employee calculator, (provided by JSS) at the same time as they are consulted about their redundancy. Individuals should be reminded that this will give an indication only and that the final payment may differ, depending on their actual last day of service and on any subsequent changes in pay. Individuals may use the information on their JSS benefits statement or may be provided with information on reckonable service by JSS when using the employee calculator. An estimate of the compensation payment (and pension benefits if applicable) will be provided by JSS with the formal notice of redundancy. Any enquiries on this should be addressed to JSS.
11.2 Those to be made redundant should be reminded that if, at some future date, they are re-employed to an establishment/organisation under the same pension scheme, certain compensation payments made at the time of dismissal may be affected; in particular they may be obliged to repay some or all of any compensation payments. Any enquiries on this should be addressed to JSS.
12.1 The scope for redeployment to avoid compulsory redundancy should always be carefully considered by the Director. The Redundancy and Redeployment Committee see (appendix 14.4), is primarily concerned with redeployments to other JNCC locations, but can intervene at the request of the individual if s/he considers that intra-establishment redeployment opportunities are being overlooked or ignored. Employees at risk of redundancy should be given every consideration for vacancies which exist at the time their possible redundancy is being considered or at any stage in the redundancy process prior to their leaving JNCC employment.
12.2 The establishment arrangements for reviewing redeployment options under the standard redeployment and redundancy procedure are the same for pre-redundancy measures and for redeployments which form part of a formal redundancy situation, except for the formal consultation requirements in the latter case.
- Compulsory redeployment must be to a post which can be described as “suitable alternative employment”. This is not a precise concept and what is “suitable” will depend on the nature and status of the work offered, on the background and skills of the individual and on any implications for the conditions of service
- Greater flexibility exists if the individual accepts an alternative post voluntarily; i.e., the definition of "suitable" can be drawn more widely if it is not disputed
- An appropriate trial period should be used the individual’s knowledge, skills and experience are not directly comparable to those specified for the new position. In certain circumstances, a trial period may be a legal right
- Mobility status and obligations must be observed at all times, but non-mobile employees who indicate a willingness to redeploy to another site must be considered for suitable posts elsewhere. paragraph 8, section A2, Working for us defines mobility and explains how it applies in a redundancy/redeployment situation.
- The Redundancy and Redeployment Committee can intervene if redeployment opportunities are being overlooked or ignored
- Overbearing (appendix A7.11) is restricted to one pay band and can only be to a vacant post. Equal pay considerations suggest that overbearing should also only be seen as a short-term measure and that every opportunity should be taken either (a) to enrich the job or (b) to effect a further redeployment - to a vacancy at the individual’s substantive grade - within a maximum of 2 years
- In certain circumstances, downgrading to a lower grade may be seen as a way of avoiding a compulsory redundancy. This can only be with the at-risk individual’s agreement and would also only usually apply where the new post is more than one grade lower (see “overbearing” above). Pay on downgrading rules apply (appendix A7.12).
13.1 Employees who are at risk of redundancy should be given as much notice as possible of the situation, so that they can immediately begin to consider their options, including their own wishes as regards redeployment and/or retraining. Where this consultation is taking place, but the individual has not yet received formal notice of redundancy, and has therefore not been given the option of consideration by the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee (See A14.4: Main page), s/he should be given every encouragement by the Head of HR to consider redeployment options. The individual must be given an up to date vacancy list for the establishment and should also be given access to the BBSRC Job Shop database. Individuals should be advised that their chances of redeployment are greater if they are able to be flexible with regard to location and type of work they are prepared to consider.
13.2 Whether under a formal redundancy situation or where a redeployment is being considered as a pre-redundancy measure, if the individual indicates a desire to redeploy to another JNCC site or JNCC employer, the Head of HR must immediately contact their opposite number at the suggested site(s), so as to avoid missing any opportunities for redeployment.
14.1 An employee at risk of redundancy may be offered work which is subject to different terms and conditions, or is in a significantly different area of work than their existing post. This provision is offered on a (statutory) minimum trial period of 20 working days in the first instance (it may be extended subject to mutual local agreement). Individuals will not be deprived of their right to redundancy compensation should they or management decide that the post is unsuitable. BBSRC Office/RESAS should be consulted in all cases where it is thought that a trial period is necessary.
14.2 The Redundancy and Redeployment Committee may recommend a specified trial period and will closely monitor trial periods with which it is involved, calling for regular progress reports. If either party considers that the trial period is not working out, the Committee will be consulted and will decide if the redundancy procedure should be resumed, and at what point.
The head of HR and Training coordinator should carefully consider retraining possibilities/options. The Redundancy and Redeployment committee’s rule of thumb is that retraining which takes less than 6 months should be encouraged and supported, where this will avoid a redundancy.
Employees who are at risk of redundancy are eligible for Compulsory Transfer Terms if they redeploy to a site which is not within daily travelling distance of their permanent residence. Daily travelling distance is defined at paragraph 7, section A2, Working for us.
- Recruited before 1 October 2002 – 6 months formal notice of redundancy
- Recruited after 1 October 2002 – 3 months notice
17.2 For voluntary redundancy the notice period is 3 months.
17.3 Subject to the requirements of the Agreement, management may terminate employment before the formal notice expires, in which case compensation in lieu of notice (CILON – appendix A14.1) will be paid. Employees should be warned by their head of HR that, in such circumstances, they are not entitled to unemployment benefit until their notional period of notice has expired. National Insurance contributions may be payable during this period and employees should be advised to seek guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions.
17.4 Employees who give notice to terminate employment before expiry of their notice of redundancy will not normally lose entitlement to a redundancy payment. However, CILON will not be payable in this situation.
17.5 During the period of notice, a reasonable amount of time off on full pay should be given for job interviews outside the JNCC employment area. Attending external interviews must not prejudice an individual's chances of internal redeployment.
18. Maternity/adoption and redundancy
18.1 Pregnant employees, employees on maternity leave and employees who are adopting a child or on adoption leave are subject to the same redundancy selection and consultation processes as other employees. If an employee is on maternity or adoption leave, care must be taken to ensure they are kept informed about the redundancies, receive the same formal communications as other employees (quotations, at risk and final redundancy letters) and have the same opportunity for individual consultation. When organising individual consultation meetings, it is advisable to contact the employee to discuss how and where they would like the consultation to take place. This may involve meeting the employee at home or outside of office hours. If an employee is unable to meet in person, consideration should be given to other forms of consultation such as by phone and/ or letter. The statutory right to be accompanied to consultation meetings applies throughout maternity and adoption leave.
18.2 If an employee on maternity/ adoption leave is in a selection pool, and the panel is assessing performance, evidence of performance prior to maternity/ adoption leave as well as projected future performance should be considered.
18.3 If an employee on maternity/ adoption leave is to be made redundant (for whatever reason) and there is a suitable vacancy, the employer must offer it first to the employee on maternity/adoption leave, even if other applicants, including any under threat of redundancy, are better qualified for the role. The new post will start immediately after the end of the original one and:
- Must be suitable and appropriate for the individual to do, and
- Have terms and conditions that are not substantially less favourable than if they had continued to be employed in their original position
18.4 If the employee unreasonably refuses a suitable alternative vacancy, this could affect their redundancy payment (appendix A14.4).
18.5 If an employee on maternity/ adoption leave is made redundant because no suitable alternative work is available, the maternity/ adoption leave period will come to an end when employment ends, but the individual's entitlement to statutory maternity pay will continue until the end of the 39 week SMP/SAP period.
Last updated 10/06/13
Amendment 154 - June 2013