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Guidance on the Redundancy process

This procedure applies for employees with more than 21 months' service and/or where the reason for the non-renewal of the fixed term contract is redundancy.  However, to be eligible for statutory redundancy compensation payments, employees must normally have two years' service or more at the point the contract comes to an end.

Prior to implementing any redundancies a Business Case must be submitted and approved.  The Business Case will set out the reasons for the potential redundancy and identify whether there are other employees in the area carrying out the same role and/or have the same skill set.  It allows HR to advise whether any other employees in the area should be included in the pool for selection for redundancy (ie the group of employees from which those who are to be made redundant will be drawn) or whether there is a "pool of one" (ie there is no one else carrying the same or similar role, or has the same or interchangeable skills).

The Business Case must be approved by the College PVC, HR Director and Provost for academic positions or by the Director of Service, HR Director and Registrar for professional services positions.  To make this process easier and more efficient for all involved a Business Case pro forma has been created.  Managers should complete and submit this on line form with all the requested information at least 6 weeks before the employee is due to receive notice (ie 18 weeks before their end date).

The form will be received by the HR Advisor team who will assess the information and take the appropriate next steps including advising managers whether "pooling" is required.  If everything is clear and straightforward the HR Advisor team will ensure the Business Case gets all appropriate approval.  If additional information or clarification is needed, the HR Advisor team will contact the manager for further details.

Managers will be informed when the Business Case has been fully approved and the redundancy process can be implemented.

At least one month before the employee is due to receive notice, the manager is required to write to the employee explaining the circumstances which may result in their dismissal and inviting them to a meeting to explain why they have been selected for redundancy.  The meeting is to provide them with an opportunity to ask questions about their selection for redundancy, make representations and propose alternatives to dismissal.  A template letter is provided for use which includes the key points to cover.

Guidance on holding the meeting can be found in the section below.

Please note: you should not hold this meeting until your HR Advisor has confirmed that the Business Case for redundancy has been fully approved or that approval has been received to proceed pending full sign off.

After the meeting, the manager should consider all the points made by the employee and their representative before reaching their conclusion, taking advice from their HR Advisor if appropriate and should complete the Consultation Meeting pro forma PD29.

The manager make take one of the following courses of action, according to the circumstances of the case:

  1. Confirm the dismissal on the grounds of redundancy;
  2. Extend the contract for a further fixed term, subject to eSR1 approval (providing "objective grounds" if the employee's length of service will exceed 4 years);
  3. Convert the employment to a permanent appointment, subject to eSR1 approval.

Following receipt of form PD29, where the decision is dismissal, HR will write to the employee normally within one week of the meeting.  The letter will:

  • Summarise the reasons for the dismissal and why they were selected
  • Give notice of dismissal on the grounds of redundancy
  • Advise on the right to appeal
  • Confirm the redundancy compenstation payment that will be made, if eligible
  • Confirm redeployment status, if eligible

Managers should retain copies of notes of discussions and communications with the employee relating to the fixed term nature of their employment, the circumstances in which it may or not be extended, the progress of new applications for funding etc

At least one month before the employee is due to receive notice, the manager is required to write to all those employees falling within the pool for selection to explain the circumstances which may result in their dismissal and to confirm the following:

  • the pool for selection from which redundancies will be affected by the application of selection criteria;
  • the total number of staff employed in that group of affected staff (ie the number of roles "at risk");
  • the total number of staff to be dismissed from that group by reason of redundancy;
  • the selection criteria to be used to determine which employees within the affected group are to be provisionally selected for redundancy;
  • who will assess the staff within the the affected group against the selection criteria;
  • when the assessment of affected staff against that criteria will take place.

template letter is provided for use which includes the key points to cover.

Selection may be by scoring those employees in the relevant "pool" against an agreed set of objective selection criteria or by competitive interview or other assessment appropriate to the nature of the role.  Taking account of guidance of the HR representative, the nominated manager shall decide who shall be provisionally selected for redundancy.

Employees who have been provisionally selected for redundancy will be invited to attend a meeting to explain why they have been selected for redundancy and to provide them with an opportunity to ask questions about their selection for redundancy, make representations and propose alternatives to dismissal.  A template letter is provided for use which includes the key points to cover.

Guidance on holding the meeting can be found in the section below.

Please note: you should not hold this meeting until your HR Advisor has confirmed that the Business Case for redundancy has been fully approved or that approval has been received to proceed pending full sign off.

After the meeting, the manager should consider all the points made by the employees and their representatives before reaching their conclusion, taking advice from their HR representative if appropriate and should complete the Consultation Meeting pro forma PD29.

Following receipt of form PD29, where the decision is dismissal, HR will write to the employee normally within one week of the meeting.  The letter will:

  • Summarise the reasons for the dismissal and why they were selected
  • Give notice of dismissal on the grounds of redundancy
  • Advise on the right to appeal
  • Confirm the redundancy compensation payment that will be made, if eligible
  • Confirm redeployment status, if eligible

Those employees within the relevant group of affected staff not provisionally selected for redundancy shall be advised in writing that, although not provisionally selected at this stage, that position could change as a result of meetings with, or appeals by, provisionally selected employees under this procedure.  A template letter is provided for use which includes the key points to cover.

Managers should retain copies of notes of discussions and communications with the employee relating to the fixed-term nature of their employmnent, the circumstances in which it may or not be extended, the progress of new applications for funding etc

Members of staff employed on fixed term contracts will be eligible for consideration for redeployment under the University's Redeployment procedure when the University has confirmed that the appointment will not be renewed and provided they have been continuously employed by the University for at least 24 months as at the expiry date of the fixed term appointment.

In cases of redundancy, employers must offer suitable alternative work to redundant employees.  If an employee unreasonably refuses the offer of suitable alternative work, they may lose their entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment.  So that informed decisions about the suitability of the alternative work can be made, a trial period of four weeks must be arranged to start from the date the employee takes up the alternative work.  If the employer and employee agree during the trial period that the role is not suitable alternative work, the employee will revert to being redundant and may be eligible to receive a statutory redundancy compensation payment.

The University calculates redundancy compensation in accordance with statutory limits.  Guidance on the calculation of statutory redundancy compensation is included in the Government calculator.

A redundancy compensation payment will be payable on the expiry of a fixed term contract in most but not all cases where the employee has been continuously employed by the University for a minimum of two years.  An employee on a one year fixed term contract may be eligible for a redundancy compensation payment if they have previous continuous employment with the University which takes them beyond two years' service by the final day of their employment.

A redundancy payment will not be paid in cases where the reason for the fixed term contract was to cover the absence of another employee - for example on study leave, maternity leave or secondment - and the reason the employment has ended is that the employee who has been absent/seconded is returning to their substantive position since, in thise case, there is not a reduction in the requirement for work.  This is one of the reasons why it is important that the purpose for each fixed-term contract is clear and recorded at its commencement.  This issue should also be clarified before steps are taken to terminate the fixed-term contract since this determines which procedure should be followed.  Colleges and Services should check with their HR Advisor in cases of doubt.

The redundancy compensation payment will be charged to the employing College or Service.  Most research grants do not allow redundancy payments to be charged to the grant, but the College should check this point with Research Accounting.

Who should attend?

Only those who have a role within the process should attend:

  • the manager responsible for conducting the meeting and make a decision;
  • the employee
  • the trade union representative or work colleague accompanying the employee, if any.

The HR representative would not normally attend the meeting although in complex cases may attend to advise the manager.

Postponement

The procedure allows the employee to make a reasonable request for a meeting to be postponed for up to one week for any reason eg sickness or if the fellow worker/trade union representative accompanying them is unable to attend on the date notified.  Only one postponement will be permitted and, following such a postponement the employee should be advised that if they do not attend on the re-arranged date, the University reserves the right to proceed with the meeting in the employee's absence.

However before proceeding in the employee's absence the manager should consider any reasons given by the employee for their non-attendance and take advise from the HR representative about whether or not to proceed in the absence of the employee or whether to re-arrange the hearing again.

Conducting the meeting

At the commencement of the meeting the manager should:

  • Introduce those present and explain why they are there;
  • Explain the purpose of the meeting is to review the circumstances which may result in the employee's dismissal and for the employee to make representation before a decision is made;
  • Explain how the meeting will be conducted.

It is essential that the employee has a reasonable opportunity to state their case.  Generally the meeting will follow the following format although there is a significant degree of flexibility on how the meeting should be conducted:

  1. The manager explains why the continuation of the fixed-term contract is not possible and any steps which have been taken or considered which have led to this view - eg grant applications which are pending or which have been unsuccessful;
  2. The employee or the person accompanying them may ask questions of the manager on the points he/she has made;
  3. The employee of the person accompanying them may ask the manager to consider alternative options which would enable the employment to be continued;
  4. The manager may respond in the meeting to the alternative options suggested by the employee (and ask further questions related to them) or may indicate that they will consider these points and respond in writing;
  5. The manager should ensure that the employee or the person accompanying them has no further questions or points they wish to make before concluding the meeting;
  6. The manager should advise the employee that they will be notified of the decision in writing within one week of the hearing.

Adjournment

During the hearing, either side may request an adjournment for private consultation.  Such requests from the employee should not be unreasonably refused.

Adjournment might be necessary if new information comes to light requiring further investigation or consideration by either side.

Where a hearing is adjourned, everyone present should withdraw (with the exception of the HR representative, if present, whose role is to advise the manager on their decision).  This will ensure that no information is disclosed to the manager which the employee and the person accompanying them do not have the opportunity to consider or respond to.

 

An employee has the right to appeal against a decision to terminate their employment under the Redundancy Procedure.

Appeal Process - Redundancy Procedure

(extract from paragraph 7 of the procedure)

  1. An employee has a right of appeal against a decision made to select them for redundancy following the application of the procedure in paragraph 5 or paragraph 6.  An employee cannot appeal against the decision to institute redundancy procedures made in accordance with the paragraph 4 of this procedure.
  2. The right of appeal must be exercised within 14 days of the date of the written outcome under 5.4 or 6.3.
  3. The appeal, stating the grounds on which it is made, must be in writing addressed to the HR Director.
  4. An appeal will be heard by a panel comprising two senior managers who have had no previous involvement in the case.
  5. The University will aim for an appeal to be heard within 21 days of the appeal being lodged, unless otherwise agreed between the parties.
  6. The appeal will be a review of the decision taken by the manager.
  7. The appeal panel may:
    1. confirm the decision to dismiss the member of staff;
    2. revoke the decision to dismiss and reinstate the member of staff; or
    3. remit the decision to be considered further in accordance with the selection process under clause 5 or clause 6, as the Appeal Panel shall specify.
  8. The decision of the appeal panel shall be final within the procedures of the University
  9. An appeal will not delay dismissal on grounds of redundancy, but where an appeal is successful then the employee will be reinstated.