Suitable alternative employment - Your rights during redundancy

Suitable alternative employment

You might be able to take another role with your employer if you're legally classed as an employee. This is called 'suitable alternative employment'.

If there's a suitable alternative role, your employer must offer it to you or someone else who is being made redundant. If they do not, you could make a claim to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

You should not have to apply for the role. If more than one employee is interested in the same role, your employer must:

  • offer the role to any employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave first
  • follow a fair process for all other employees, for example holding interviews for the role

Your employer should offer the alternative role before your current role ends.

You do not have to take the job if you do not think it's suitable. Whether a job is suitable usually depends on:

  • how much you'll be paid and what benefits you'll get, for example pension
  • where the job is – it may be further for you to travel
  • how similar the role is to your current job
  • what terms you're being offered
  • your skills and abilities in relation to the role

When the alternative role starts

The alternative role must start within 4 weeks of your current role ending. If not, you'll still qualify as redundant and should get redundancy pay.

Trial period

You have the right to a 4-week trial period in an alternative role. This should start after you've worked your notice period and your previous contract has ended.

It's a good idea to get the dates for the trial period in writing. If you need longer to train for a job, get your employer's agreement in writing with a clear end date. This avoids any confusion or disputes if the trial does not work out.

If you are in the new role beyond the 4-week trial you will lose the right to redundancy. This is unless you agreed a longer trial period with your employer.

If the new role is unsuitable, you may leave at any time in the 4-week trial without having to give additional notice.

If your employer offers you more than one job, you can try each for 4 weeks.

Turning down the job

If you think the job is not suitable, you need to tell your employer in writing. If you do not, you could lose your right to redundancy pay.

You need to have a good reason why it's not suitable, for example:

  • the job is on lower pay
  • health issues stop you from doing the job
  • you have difficulty getting there, for example because of a longer journey, higher cost or lack of public transport
  • it would cause disruption to your family life

Your contract could say you have to work anywhere your employer asks you to (a 'mobility clause'). This might mean that turning down a job because of its location could risk your right to redundancy pay.

If your employer does not agree

If your employer does not accept your reasons for turning down the job, they could refuse to pay your redundancy pay.

You should try and reach an agreement by raising it informally first. You can do this by talking to your employer.

If you've already tried to resolve things informally, you can raise a grievance. This is where you make a formal complaint to your employer. 

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