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Help for small firms

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

Handling small-scale redundancies - Useful tools: Selection criteria summary

Absence and Attendance

  • It's easier to score absences and punctuality fairly if you keep good records.
  • If you are comparing staff with different lengths of service, be careful. For example, if you were to look at records from the past six months, an employee with 18 years' service who has had one absence could be selected for redundancy over a colleague with 18 months' service and no absences. Here, it might be advisable to look back over a longer period.
  • Exclude anything you've authorised like holidays, parental leave and dental appointments. You'll also need to exclude disability or pregnancy-related absences, as including them can make the selection discriminatory and unfair.

Disciplinary records

  • Again, it's essential to have proper records if you score on discipline.
  • Make sure that any disciplinary records used are taken from fair disciplinary procedures that meet the standards outlined in the statutory Acas Discipline and grievance - Acas Code of Practice.


  • You might include performance in your criteria if you have a regular performance management system that's applied consistently to your staff.
  • Consider whether you want to use positive performance measures (like meeting sales targets), negative performance measures (like valid customer complaints) or a mix of both.

Skills, experience and qualifications

  • Often these are used together for fairness and to reduce the risk of age discrimination. For example, you might ensure your criteria balance the value of a longer serving employee with vast experience with a more recent employee with the latest qualification.
  • Remember to only factor in skills, experience and qualifications that are relevant to the job and/or your business.

Last in first out (the most recent employee is the first to be dismissed)

  • Do not use this on its own as it could be discriminatory if your newer workers mostly have a protected characteristic - for example, they may be younger than your longer-serving staff.
  • Although this method is not recommended as good practice in most circumstances, it can be used it as part of a wider selection process, or if there is no other way to fairly choose between two employees.

Treating everyone fairly

Remember in Handling small-scale redundancies - Step 3, this guide covered 'How to avoid discriminating against your employees' and 'Your additional obligation if you have staff on maternity leave during a redundancy process'.

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