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Redundancy 1 week after colleague returned from maternity leave

(118 Posts)
neverhadanymarblestolose Mon 22-Jan-18 17:51:25

Been informed today that my company want to make me redundant and they have offered me a (slightly) enhanced package if I go quietly. I've got an appointment with a solicitor on Thursday, but my mind is racing and was after some advice before then.

Worked there for nearly 11 years. There was me and 2 others who worked alongside each other, doing same type of role as each other but for different areas of the business. One of the other 2 went on maternity leave in December 2016 and they returned on 9th January, worked for 4 days then went off sick and then came back in today. So she'd not really been given any responsibility or told what she would be doing.

When she was off, the three roles were merged into two that me and my other colleague have done for the past 13 months.

I was told today in a meeting with my head of department, that the company is stream lining and that there isn't enough work for the three of us, so they are offering me redundancy. If I don't accept it, they said the three of us will have competency testing to determine who to make redundant.

My AIBU is, is this legal? My returning colleague effectively being given my job? It's not that any part of my role is changing, it's just there is now 3 people in a team and they only have work for 2.

Thanks for reading. It's been a pretty shit day and my head is spinning.

LouiseH2017 Mon 22-Jan-18 18:02:34

I don’t really have any advice as I’m not an employment lawyer, but didn’t want to read and run.

Have you spoken to ACAS? They may still be open now if you wanted to give them a call.

Do you know if you would be considered least “competent” if the company had to use that redundancy option? Would the enhanced redundancy package still be available if you were made redundant after competency testing?

hidinginthenightgarden Mon 22-Jan-18 18:06:14

I think I would take the package as I wouldn't want to work with people who thought so little of me.
I would be very hurt but it would be too awkward to continue working with them after this.

BlackberryandNettle Mon 22-Jan-18 18:06:15

Sorry, that sounds like a shit day. Your returning colleague is not really being given your job though - currently the three of you have the same job description so it is as much hers as it is yours.

Sprinklestar Mon 22-Jan-18 18:07:55

That sounds iffy! I bet they were relying on colleague not returning and thinking it would all turn out fine with just two of you for the remaining two jobs. Def get legal advice. You’ve been there over a decade! They need to treat you better than this. And if you all do the same job, surely you should all be offered the redundancy option?

Mammylamb Mon 22-Jan-18 18:10:05

I’d contact ACAS. Can’t understand why they haven’t offered you all redundancy. I would have gladly taken it when I returned from Mat leave so that I could spend time with my baby!

CheeseGirl4 Mon 22-Jan-18 18:10:52

I'm not an expert, but I have been made redundant before and this sounds highly suspect. From my understanding a ROLE is made redundant, not an individual, and where one role is disappearing from a group who all have the same role, due process needs to be followed - making roles at risk, opportunity for VR, applying for remaining roles etc.

Is this a small organisation without a proper HR Dept? I would try and speak to a Union rep (if you're in one) or Citizens Advice for guidance.

neverhadanymarblestolose Mon 22-Jan-18 18:10:57

They've not offered it to the other 2. Im assuming I've been picked as I work part time and work unusual hours for the business, where as my returning colleague is full time.

PumpkinPie2016 Mon 22-Jan-18 18:11:36

Sorry this is happening to you - definitely get legal advice!

Surely all three of you should be offered the redundancy and if no one takes it voluntarily then move to the competency test option?

neverhadanymarblestolose Mon 22-Jan-18 18:12:19

Will phone ACAS in the morning when they reopen.
It's a large company with a proper HR department.

RavenclawRealist Mon 22-Jan-18 18:12:44

Yeah no one is being given 'your' job although I see why it feels that way a job is being lossr. Have they given any feedback on why it is you not either of the other colleagues they are suggesting takes the redundancy? Is this being offered to all 3 or just you? Getting legal advice is always worth it but it doesn't scream something illegal to me sorry

Hadalifeonce Mon 22-Jan-18 18:13:00

I believe in this situation they should ask for voluntary redundancies first; if nobody wants to volunteer, they should then do a competency exercise.

If there are 3 people doing the same job, but not enough work for 3, they can't just decide to make one individual redundant.

TheBrilliantMistake Mon 22-Jan-18 18:13:21

Yes, it's legal. A colleague's maternity (or paternity) leave is their legal right and should not affect the decision regarding who to make redundant.

All three of you should stand on equal terms at present, until the company then (in theory) determines a fair means of deciding who to make redundant based on a number of criteria (which THEY set). The criteria must be fair and applied equally to all, but they choose the criteria.

RavenclawRealist Mon 22-Jan-18 18:14:13

Sorry x post just seen you haven't offered the others that changes things sounds like legal advice/ACAS is the way forward

DelphiniumBlue Mon 22-Jan-18 18:15:06

Doesn't sound right. I agree that you should contact ACAS. I would also ask your company to confirm how you were selected. If they have a redundancy policy, check it to make sure they've followed their own procedures. And contact your Union.

TheBrilliantMistake Mon 22-Jan-18 18:15:48

If there are 3 people with only enough work for 2, the company CAN (and mostly likely WILL) make one of you redundant. That is entirely normal, although very upsetting for all concerned.

The process of choosing who to make redundant is the tricky part, and that's where a fair and equitable set of criteria must be drawn up and adhered to.

Trashboat Mon 22-Jan-18 18:16:15

Are they not just saying that the part time job is no longer viable, rather than telling you the want to make you redundant specifically?

Eatalot Mon 22-Jan-18 18:17:05

Deffo role is made redudant not person.

I think they were worried about making someone redundant who just returned from mat leave and you were easy target.

Coastalcommand Mon 22-Jan-18 18:17:27

They need to open up the redundancy to all three of you, then if None of you take it they will have to select a candidate. If you don’t want to go, say so and to take it to the next stage and you may not be selected anyway. Are you in the union?

Eltonjohnssyrup Mon 22-Jan-18 18:17:29

She's been off sick for a full year? Is that a typo?

If it's been something serious like cancer and she's recovered they would be on v dicey ground making her redundant.

JustMarriedBecca Mon 22-Jan-18 18:20:20

All companies can offer a package for you to go quietly at anytime. You don't have to accept it and then they have to go through the procedure. At my old place people used to disappear into a room and then turn up on a beach in Thailand 6 months later. You'll get seriously enhanced if they are offering you a deal.

If you don't take it then they have to go through a formal process with the three of you

neverhadanymarblestolose Mon 22-Jan-18 18:21:27

The bit i was wondering if it was legal is, is that she had returned to no actual role. They let her sit with me for the first 4 days so I could show her the ropes again. Then as soon as she came back from a week off sick they offer redundancy to just me.

Quartz2208 Mon 22-Jan-18 18:24:01

It sounds like they are streamlining to 2 full time positions. Whilst you can’t reject it they can make you all apply and you would potentially have to go full time if kept on. I think they did it whilst she was away

I think she went on a year maternity from Dec 2016 came in on the 9th and did a week and had last week off.

FarewellLolaBlue Mon 22-Jan-18 18:24:32

Hmmm this I work part time and work unusual hours for the business, where as my returning colleague is full time. is a bit of a drip feed.

TheBrilliantMistake Mon 22-Jan-18 18:25:04

A company is allowed to include factors such as timekeeping and sickness in their criteria, but it most certainly won't be the only factors.
Longevity with the company could be included, as could your professional skill set, all with weightings according the company's rules.

From the company's point of view, this can be a minefield for them too, as whoever is made redundant will almost certainly feel unfairly treated. The inevitable 'but I am good at this, and they are bad at that' comparisons will come to the fore.

Sadly, despite it being a horribly harrowing experience, the whole process is often rather clinical, and your 'loyalty' to the company tends to amount to very little. It's almost always a genuinely business lead decision, and not a personal one, but it sure can feel like it's personal.

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