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30 November 2020

277: Acas, CBI and TUC issue joint statement on handling redundancies

Acas, the CBI and the TUC have issued a joint statement to businesses regarding best practice for handling redundancy situations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the difficult economic situation, employers are urged to exhaust all possible alternatives first and to consult effectively with staff, employee representatives and trade unions as appropriate. This may result in solutions which help to retain loyal and skilled employees, through measures such as part-time working, overtime cuts or retraining, in addition to avoiding the costs associated with redundancy, potential employment tribunal claims and future recruitment.

In any event, should a redundancy process be inevitable, the statement asks employers to follow five guiding principles:

  • do it openly. There are rules for collective redundancies involving 20 or more employees, but whatever the scale, the sooner people understand the situation, the better for everyone; 
  • do it thoroughly. Ensure that everyone involved has proper information and guidance, including training for staff representatives where necessary;
  • do it genuinely. Consultation means hearing people’s views before making a decision, being open to alternatives, and giving feedback;
  • do it fairly. All aspects of the redundancy procedure should be conducted fairly and without any form of discrimination; and
  • do it with dignity. Redundancy has a human as well as a business cost and the way redundancies are carried out reflects an organisation’s values. Given the circumstances, the business may also want to rehire the same people in the future. Employers should think about how best to handle the conversation and whether it will take place face-to-face or remotely. 

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