Managing staff redundancies: step by step

Step 5: Select employees for redundancy

You need to select employees for redundancy in a fair way.

If you’re making a whole team or specific group of staff redundant, you’ll have already identified a clear criteria and list of roles you need to make redundant.

For example, if a farm shop closes its bakery, it will need to make its bakers redundant.

But if you need to reduce the number of employees in the organisation or team, you’ll need to set up selection criteria and make a list of roles to be considered for redundancy (a 'selection pool').

Selection pools

Selection pools help make sure employees are selected for redundancy in a fair way.

Where a number of different roles are at risk of redundancy, you may need to have more than one selection pool.

You should include in each pool all roles that are the same or similar.

You should also consider including roles that have similar skills. For example, all marketing roles are in a selection pool. You could also include roles from the press and communications team if the skills are similar to those needed for marketing.

When setting up a selection pool, you should check and follow any:

  • agreements you may have with a recognised trade union
  • existing redundancy policy

If there is no existing policy or agreement, you should consider consulting any recognised trade union on how the pool should be set up.

Using selection criteria

You should have included selection criteria in your consultation.

Criteria should be as 'objective' and 'measurable' as possible. This means it should be fair, be based on facts that can be measured and not be affected by personal opinions.

You must use the same way of scoring criteria for all employees in the pool.

Agreed selection criteria scoring is useful as:

  • it can be applied to everyone (although you might need to use different scoring for different groups of employees – for example, the engineering team might have a different scoring from the sales team)
  • it can be easily explained to everyone 
  • employees feel they’re being treated fairly
  • it gives a clear, structured and consistent system for managing selection issues
  • it can be used at employment tribunals to defend an employer’s decision

Examples of selection criteria could include:

  • standard of work or performance
  • skills, qualifications or experience  
  • attendance record, which must be accurate and not include absences relating to disability, pregnancy or maternity
  • disciplinary record

How to score employees

You can have different levels of points according to the importance of each criteria ('weighting') for your organisation’s needs.

For example, if it's agreed that attendance record is less important than performance, you can allow fewer points for this. So you could score attendance out of 5 points and performance out of 10.

You should have written evidence against each of the criteria.

Example scoring criteria and points

Work performance:

  • outstanding – consistently exceeds company standard 15
  • exceeds objectives of the role 12
  • meets all objectives of the role 9
  • meets some objectives of the role 6
  • fails to meet objectives of the role 3

Skills and competence:

  • fully competent, multi-skilled, supports others on regular basis 15
  • fully competent in current role 12
  • competent in most aspects of current role, requires some supervision 9
  • some competence in role, requires regular supervision and guidance 6
  • cannot function without close support or supervision 3

Disciplinary record:

  • no record of disciplinary action 5
  • record of informal disciplinary action 4
  • verbal warning current 3
  • written warning current 2
  • final written warning current 1

Attendance record:

  • no recorded absence 5
  • some absence but below average for selection pool (or workplace) 4
  • attendance in line with workplace (or selection pool) average 3
  • absence level above average for selection pool (or workplace) 2
  • high and unacceptable level of absence 1

Avoid discrimination

It’s against discrimination law to select employees based on:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage or civil partnership status
  • pregnancy or maternity leave – see the Acas guide to redundancy for employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave 
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • family related leave – for example parental, paternity or adoption leave
  • their role as an employee or trade union representative
  • membership of a trade union
  • part-time or fixed-term employee status
  • pay and working hours, for example because they’ve refused to give up rest breaks or asked for National Minimum Wage or holiday entitlements
  • concerns they've raised about whistleblowing
Example 1

You want staff to be more flexible around the hours they work. If you only have selection criteria based on how willing employees are to work different shift patterns or change their working arrangements, it could be sex discrimination.

This is because women are more likely to have caring responsibilities that makes it hard to change their working hours.

Example 2
If an employee with a medical condition has been told to stay at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and you score them poorly for attendance, this could be disability discrimination.
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