Wednesday 29 April 2009

Redundancy: Alternative Employment offer

This situation arises when a job has been identified as redundant and the individual informed of that situation. Many employers are reluctant to loose able members of staff. In those circumstance most employers look to find if they have any alternative employment.

If an employee is offered 'suitable alternative employment' when their job has been declared redundant they are obliged to take that work. If they unreasonably refuse to take that work they are not entitled to a redundancy payment.

In practice few companies will force a truly reluctant employee to take alternative work but if that possibility may occur it should be made clear at the start of the redundancy exercise. For example the first communication to staff should say:

"Whilst your job may be redundant we are confident there will be alternative work and you will be considered for that. It is only if no alternative work is available that you will be considered redundant".

Whether the offer was reasonable alternative employment is ultimately down to an Employment Tribunal. But generally the offer should be of equivalent status, requiring a similar level of education and knowledge and not lead to a significant drop in earnings. If the location of the alternative work is different the employer should consider if travel to work is unreasonable in the circumstances of that employee.

Trial Period

An employee who is under notice of redundancy has a statutory right to a trial period of four weeks in an alternative job where the provisions of the new contract differ from the original contract, the period to begin when the previous contract has ended.

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