Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Offer employees a fresh start

Shropshire employers facing a round of tough redundancies should consider offering staff alternative jobs instead.
John Mehtam, our Employment Law Specialist, said an alternative position may be the answer companies were looking for.

"In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, some employers may well find they face tough decisions, with the harsh reality being that they have no option but to make some of their workers redundant. But have you considered all the options – could you minimise the impact of your difficult position by finding alternative roles for those staff within your organisation instead?"

John said though that this approach may seem to be the perfect solution, but employers needed to make sure they stayed on the right side of the Employment Rights Act 1996 when it came to managing the process.

"The Employment Appeal Tribunal has also set out new guidelines to explain how you should manage the offer of an alternative job and there are definitely pitfalls you need to avoid."

He said employers should offer the person a trial period in the new potential job, usually four weeks. "Communicate clearly to the employees involved how the trial period for an alternative job will operate, right from the start. Ensure they know that if they want to turn down the new job, they must do it within the four week period, otherwise they could forfeit their right to a statutory redundancy payment.

"Make sure too that any proposed alternative employment is actually suitable for the employee. Offering them a job which you know will be beyond their skills or totally out of their remit could put you at risk of an unfair dismissal claim."