Small firms urged to follow new Acas guidance on redundancies
Workplace expert Acas has today published new guidance to help employers handle small-scale redundancies.
The new free Handling small-scale redundancies - A step-by-step guide will particularly help small and medium sized businesses stay on the right side of the law if they want to make fewer than 20 people redundant.
It is part of Acas' free Step by step guides which break down the most common employment issues into a series of practical stages for a business owner, manager or supervisor.
The risk of small-scale redundancies can arise if an employer needs to:
- close or move part of their business
- make cost savings due to change in customer demand or an efficiency drive
- reorganise the way their business is run
- sell the business to another company.
Acas Chair Ed Sweeney said:
"This guide will be particularly invaluable for smaller employers, helping them to understand the right way to handle redundancy.
"In 2012/13, we handled around 930,000 calls to our helpline and one in five callers asked about redundancy related issues. Our new guide builds on our knowledge as workplace experts to help business owners understand the regulations around small-scale redundancies with top tips on how to handle or prevent them.
"A better understanding of the law can make the difference between managing staff well and potentially facing a costly and stressful employment tribunal if things aren't handled correctly."
The online guide includes a legal checklist, answers to frequently asked questions, useful tools and practical examples of common workplace scenarios.
Acas advises employers to first consider alternatives to redundancies such as: offering flexible working; stopping recruitment; retraining staff; or reducing or ending overtime depending on contracts.
If employers still want to consider making a small group of employees redundant, Acas recommends that they should draw up a seven step plan.
- Brief managers - to make sure they are prepared, trained and informed to effectively handle a testing situation.
- Talk to staff - it is a legal requirement to consult individually with all affected staff, not just those who might face redundancy.
- Choose staff for redundancy carefully - have clear criteria for which posts may need to go and how people will be selected.
- Talk about redundancy notice and pay - this can reassure staff and help business planning.
- Think about notice period rights - check what time off employees can have to look for other work.
- Allow staff to appeal against their selection for redundancy.
- Focus on the future of the business - manage change and make the best of remaining staff for the future of the business.
The Acas helpline can provide a wealth of free advice to employers on redundancy issues, as well as a range of other employment related matters. It is available on 08457 47 47 47 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 1pm on Saturday.
Notes to editors
- Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.
- Acas' Step by Step guide for small-scale redundancies is also a useful source of information and guidance for larger organisations thinking about making small-scale redundancies.
- In 2012/13, we answered around 930,000 calls on the Acas Helpline and 20% of these calls were due to redundancy-related situations. Acas' Annual report 2012-13 contains a more detailed breakdown of our annual statistics and is available from Annual reports and plans.
- Our helpline is a highly trusted source of free advice with over 90 per cent of callers satisfied with the service. Earlier this year Acas launched an additional service called Helpline Online, which offers 24 hour free advice and guidance on rights at work and employment law. Employers can receive an instant response to their work related questions and the service can help users feel more informed before a conversation with an Acas helpline adviser.
- A large-scale or collective redundancy is when an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days. Unlike collective redundancies, there is no fixed period of consultation required for small- scale redundancies. Acas guidance for collective redundancies launched on 6 April 2013 is available at Advisory booklet - Handling large-scale (collective) redundancies [508kb].
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