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Help for small firms

Handling small-scale redundancies - A step-by-step guide

Handling small-scale redundancies - Step 2

Talk to your staff

When you are making fewer than 20 employees redundant you are legally required to have meaningful individual consultation - and that's with all affected staff, not just those who may be made redundant.

Unlike larger-scale redundancies, there is no fixed period of consultation required - instead, it needs to be enough to be meaningful to your particular situation. This means it is likely you'll need more than one meeting with each employee.

These meetings are not a set of negotiations, but they are not simply about telling your employees how things are going to be, either. You (or your managers) must meet each employee privately, at least once, listen to them and genuinely consider their suggestions (even if you don't accept them).

Don't skip the one-to-ones by meeting with your staff as a group instead, as there is a risk any redundancies could be unfair and you may end up before an employment tribunal.

Benefits of meaningful individual consultation include:

  • a better chance of finding alternative jobs for staff
  • increased employee morale (they'll feel included and see they have an input into the process)
  • ideas and options can surface that you hadn't considered/identified previously
  • an opportunity for you to become aware of other relevant issues early on.

Examples of what you need to consult about include:

  • informing the employee of the situation, what you intend to do about it, and why.
  • the criteria for the selection process
  • ways to avoid/minimise redundancies
  • listening to any concerns about the process (or any other relevant matters)
  • assisting and arranging time off for employees (for example, updating CVs and looking for training).

You're not legally required to consult with your employees as a group/collectively in small-scale redundancy situations, but double-check to see if your employee contracts, policies or union agreements require you to do so. Even if there isn't a set requirement, you could always consult as a group if it will help. Remember, this has to be in addition to (not in place of) individual meaningful consultation.

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