By Daniel Pollard - 3 November 2020
UK employers consulted with staff on nearly half a million redundancies during the pandemic - roughly 1.5% of the working population. The true number will have been much higher as small-scale redundancies are not captured by government statistics. The furlough scheme will have given many employers an opportunity to pause but as the scheme comes to an end, employers face some tough choices.
Over recent months we have seen a huge amount of creativity from our clients in finding ways to minimise redundancies. Over the next couple of weeks we will share 12 possible strategies adopted by our clients and some thoughts of our own to help reduce cost without compulsory lay-offs.
12. Reward Flexibility
One of the biggest quid pro quos for many of our clients has been a sense that “we are in this together” and that that employees want to work together to avoid compulsory redundancies. As a result, we have seen a tremendously high and unexpected level of buy in from staff.
This does however beg the question – what can employers do if not everyone is on board?
The lawyers answer would usually be to consult, to terminate on notice and offer re-employment on revised terms.
Another possible approach may be to use “willingness to share the pain” as one of the criteria for selection in any future redundancy program. Whilst there is no caselaw on this subject, the author’s view is that this ought to be fair provided it is clearly communicated at the relevant time, each individual case is considered on its merits and appropriate consultation has taken place.
For all 12 ways to reduce HR costs without redundancies click here.
We would love to hear from clients and contacts with any other ideas, suggestions or comments on this article.
Please get in touch with your usual GQ|Littler contact or Daniel Pollard to share your thoughts.