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Redundancy - Told to accept alternative job or hand in notice!(30 Posts)
My husband was put on notice of redundancy 30 days ago. He had a couple of consultation meetings in the first week, and was told he would be offered a new position. They finally sent some vague Ts and Cs for the alternative job this Tuesday (day 26 of Consultation process). He had various questions with regard to the details of the Ts and Cs and the differences in the contract from his previous contract. He has not received any satisfacory responses other than an email saying the new Ts and Cs will not be changed. He did not ask for it to be changed he asked for clarification on certain points that are not clear in the Ts and Cs.. Anyhow as there are a number of changes that basically amount to a drop in status and pay, and their unwillingness to specify points in the Ts and Cs in more detail he wrote yesterday saying he did not want the new position and listed clearly his reasons. He swiftly received a response from the man who would be his new line manager stating, he is not being offered redundancy pay he is being offered a new job and if he does not accept it he is effectively handing in his notice!! Pretty sure this is not how the redundancy process works... They may well disagree with his refusal of the position and it could go to a tribunal etc but they cannot tell him that basically the options are accept the position or your out.. That is not how the redundancy process works. Am I wrong? Can they say/do this? On top of this, e currently has a company car and fuel card this is part of his current contract, he went to use the fuel card yesterday and it has been stopped! Pretty sure thay can't do that either!
It does work like that I'm afraid, but to an extend. It is certainly not up to him to decide if he wants the job or take redundancy (although in occasions it can be offered). However, the alternative job needs to match the old one....up to a certain level, and that can only be 51% of what the other job is. It can also mean being downgraded, although I think the salary should remain the same... for a certain time.
The rules around what is an acceptable alternative or not can be grey, depend on the level of the job, distance etc... This is the time when you need an union representative to advise.
Really?? From everything I have read I thought that if you enter the redundancy process then if there is a suitable job they have to offer it. And then the employee can decide if they feel the job is appropriate, the company can disagree of you have turned down a suitable alternative job and it can go to tribunal etc but if you are in the redundancy process statutory redundancy pay is always an option whether it is paid freely or if you have to fight to get it. The company can't just say redundancy pay is not an option at all, it is part and parcel of the redundancy process... Whether or not he gets it is a different kettle of fish but to say that redundancy pay is not even an option???
I should add he has worked for this company for 20 years. So well over the 2 year continuous service minimum to qualify for statutory redundancy, and is already in the redundancy consultation process. Once notice of redundancy has been issued it cannot be withdrawn by the employer.
No idea where that 51% notion has come from, that’s nonsense.
For a company to no longer be liable for redundancy pay, they need to offer a suitable alternative. Suitable alternative means suitable for the person’s skills (ie doesn’t have to be the same job, and what counts as suitable for one person might not be for another), circumstances (a relocation might be suitable for an employee with no personal responsibilities but not suitable for a single mum with three kids in school) and on no less favourable terms and conditions.
I assume the employer believes this is a suitable alternative. Your DH should set out clearly in writing why he believes this is not a suitable alternative, and say that if his company withholds redundancy pay he will take action to ensure they pay it.
This is sadly something companies can do and something mine is a bit of an expert in doing.
My company has the rules down to a fine art and know precisely what they can get away with so in our latest restructure if you lived within a 90 minute commute of the proposed role location and your skills were transferable to the role then declining the role was basically resignation.
Not a single person's grievance has been upheld and this is in a union heavy organisation.
What your husband is essentially asking for is voluntary redundancy and the company are not obliged to offer this if it's contrary to their business needs.
I wouldn't even attempt to fight something like this without union support, especially with 20 years service under his belt.
There's a small chance that they've overlooked something but the onus is on your husband to prove they are in the wrong and fight them through legal channels.
I am am assuming that you have it in writing that he is in the redundancy process. A friend of mine works for a company who are changing the contracts of every employee. It is a case of sign the new contract or you are out, without redundancy. It's all legal and above board. Morally it's wrong but legally it's not.
Thankyou for your responses. Yes he is officially in the redundancy process, lots of emails and has had 2 consultations. So they are not just moving and asking him to relocate or anything like that. His job has gone and many employees are officially in the redundancy consultation period. So its not really voluntary redundancy as they are in the redundancy consultation period that was started by the company (in fact that ended yesterday). This is why I don't see how the company can say redundancy pay is not an option.. They officially started the redundancy process, they have offered alternative work, my husband does not feel it is suitable due to changes to Ts and Cs. So has said no, listing the reasons why. They can argue that the job is a equal alternative etc and go to tribunal but they cannot just say no redundancy pay is on offer when they started the redundancy process. This is a massive company with government contracts etc and 1000s of employees.
I was made redundant a couple of years ago and I’m afraid it’s right what they are doing. He has to take the offered job or be made redundant. It’s rubbish but you might find leaving now is better if a lot of people are being laid off as all the other staff will get all the decent jobs in the area. I was pregnant when made redundant so by the time I started to apply for a new job all that was available was agency, care, retail and cleaning as the other 100+ people got to all the decent jobs before me. Sounds silly I know
OP give ACAS a ring or get your husband to contact his union.
Yep, it’s a shit system that rarely favours the employee now. There is unfortunately a gulf of difference between what a company can say is a ‘suitable alternative’ and what an employee thinks is so.
How significant are the ts and cs? Companies are also entitled to make a certain amount of contractual changes without offering redundancy so that might not be enough for him to argue either.
If the company has had legal advice that says on paper the new role is a ‘suitable alternative’ then yes, it sounds like his options are to accept the role or resign.
He needs specialist advice. ACAS won’t give advice on specific, individual cases but can confirm the legal process and give details of similar cases that were successful, if they exist.
Yes, they can say that no redundancy pay is on offer. It’s not a right if a suitable alternative is found. The role is redundant, not the person.
Oh, and the statutory redundancy is awful now. Capped at £500ish a week for a week a year for a capped 20 years. not a week’s actual salary any more.
I had similar happen to me years ago. Was told that rather than work at location A I nkw had to work at A and B. B was 50 miles away.
I argued that I didn’t want a job 50 miles away, etc. I was in a union and the union said it wasn’t an unreasonable demand by my employer, 50 miles wasn’t that far. That if I didn’t accept the new contract I’d be deemed as having made myself unemployed.
I was furious and never 100% sure the union rep was right (odd Union who are very friendly with the employer). I was planning to ask acas for advice but ended up getting a new job.
Before you go in all guns blazing I would make very sure that your DH can get another job elsewhere very quickly or you have plenty of savings.
Given it’s a massive company I would assume they have looked at this and know what they are doing. It may be worth fighting but be realistic about the fact that you could lose. At that point he will have effectively taken voluntary redundancy (as he didn’t take the job they offered) so make sure that end result will be survivable.
Might also be worth joining forces with others in the redundancy process, or at the very least get a sense of where they think they stand legally. Good luck.
”This is why I don't see how the company can say redundancy pay is not an option.”
He is not entitled to redundancy pay if there is a suitable alternative. They are saying the alternative is suitable for him, therefore redundancy pay is no longer an option. He can either accept the alternative so that his employment continues, he has security of income, and look for something else. Or he can leave without redundancy pay and walk away, or he can fight the decision until termination date, see if he can get that reversed and then continue fighting afterwards (or not) if he can’t.
Grounds to refuse a job offer that your employer makes instead of being made redundant:
Changes to hours that disrupt family life/affect childcare
Health issues which mean you can't do the new role
Lack of training offered to have the ability to do the new job
Reduction of benefts such as holiday pay, pension contribution, company car
If your employer offers you another role that you find doesn't meet the criteria which you held in your last role, write to them and refuse the job offer clearly stating why you are refusing it. If they don't accept your refusal of the job offer and insist that it is suitable, arrange a meeting with them and discuss these issues and see if there is any other suitable roles they can offer. If they insist that the role they offered is suitable and you still don't agree, contact ACAS. ACAS will help you and your employer understand each others needs but ACAS will usually insist that redundancy pay is paid when their client has good reasons not to accept the role and no other suitable offers are on the table, the number one good reason being a reduction in pay. If your employer persists, you can take them to a tribunal. Please note that employers rarely want to go to a tribunal so 90% of the time, grievances are resolved with the employee and their employer talking and negotiating or ACAS will help resolve the issue.
I'm surprised at some of the posts on this thread. As Flowery and JenniferM1989 say, if the alternative role being offered is lower paid it is not a suitable alternative so your husband is still entitled to redundancy pay if he refuses to accept it.
But it has to be significantly lower pay. A few % less (according to ACAS) is not considered significant enough if the employer can show that a comparable wage could be offered by an alternative employer for that same role. If her dh has been in position for 20 years then the chances are that his salary is higher than they would reasonably expect to offer to a new person in a role because of annual increases etc. It’s horrible because it penalises loyalty but it appears to be legal according to ACAS and the employment lawyer we spoke to.
You keep repeating that they started thw redundancy process so they need to give him redundancy pay. That's not true and it won't help your to keep thinking it is.
They need to offer him a suitable alternative OR redundancy pay. Not both. They have offered what they consider a suitable alternative. A small drop on pay, a slightly longer commute and small change is hours would all be acceptable. A substantial loss of pay, a move to an entirely different city etc would not be suitable. But to fight that you will need help so call ACAS.
But it's worth looking over the job offer again and considering whether or not he would win. This process often favours the employer, and the role could quite possibly be suitable. Not liking it isn't a good enough reason to say no and he won't get redundancy pay if he turns the job down.
I was offered a role on the same pay with same job title but no staff to manage. I was a manager so I argued that it wasn't a role of the same status. They had to give me redundancy. There are grey areas though!
I don't think I am getting my point across properly... My point is there is a process to follow, and it is not take this job or go. My husband meets the criteria to be eligible for statutory redundancy pay. I know this does not mean you can just turn down any job offered and expect to be paid redundancy, but he can turn down the job if he feels it is not a fair alternative and then there is a process to follow, (this is not the equivalent of handing in your notice like his line manager has said) if he turns it down it does not mean he will automatically get statutory redundancy pay but the company will have to prove it is a fair alternative taking all things into consideration not just annual pay and duties and follow the correct grievance process and then it may possibly go to tribunal if need be to sort it out... Yes he may lose this process but he may not. But at no point is redundancy pay not even an option as suggested if the job is found to be unsuitable by whatever means then they have to pay statutory redundancy pay it is not optional. But they are trying to say take this job or nothing..
The job offered is not the same Ts and Cs. Same pay but not paid door to door like he currently is, so will have to leave earlier which means he won't be able to drop daughter off to before school club as it won't be open and therefore affecting me and my work (and will basically be working 20+ hours more per month travelling to work for no pay, this is normal for a lot of people I know but is a loss when compared to current ts and cs), loss of company car (not offering recompense) so will have to get a car, loss of sick pay benefits from previous contract and going to statutory (much worse), lower rates for overtime and payment for overtime is discretionary and for your line manager to decide!! Loss of death benefits, I could go on... These are all changes that are disadvantageous to him, to our lives and financially, so pay may be the same but the things we are losing mean we will be considerably worse off. Basically going backwards.
So what I am saying is they cannot just say it is this job or FO.. There needs to be discussion about the suitability of the role for the redundancy process to be fair. If a job is found to be unsuitable by legal means whether that is tribunal or whatever they have to pay redundancy. They are basically trying to force/bully him to take job on the premise that they do not have to pay redundancy in any circumstance when that is not the case, if the job is shit and is found to be shit, then pay they must! ACAS and union will be contacted tomorrow as well as company HR to start grievance process. Ranting!!
but he can turn down the job if he feels it is not a fair alternative and then there is a process to follow
No there isn't.
If your husband rejects the job on the basis that it is not a reasonable alternative there is no process they have to go through. If they believe it is a reasonable alternative they don't have to convince anyone else at this stage. They simply withhold his redundancy pay. He can then take them to tribunal and argue that it was not a reasonable alternative. It is then up to the employer to show that the alternative was reasonable and that your husband's refusal to accept it was unreasonable.
Given that there is loss of company car, loss of sick pay benefits, lower overtime rates, loss of death benefits, etc. I think the employer may struggle to convince a tribunal that this role is a reasonable alternative.
As Flowery suggests, your husband should set out clearly why he does not believe this is a reasonable alternative and make it clear that he intends to take action if they withhold his redundancy pay.
Your getting your point across just fine but you aren't listening.
Legally the company do not have to offer redundancy pay even if they're in a consultation that is making others redundant.
They are fulfilling their legal obligation by offering what they deem to be a suitable role. It's up to your husband to prove it's not a suitable alternative role in order to be offered redundancy, not the company.
As I mentioned I'd only fight this with the backing of a union or specialist employment solicitor if you can afford the fees (these can be attached to the claim if you're successful but if you're not it's your burden to pay).
The burden of proof is on your husband. The company are not acting illegally...unethically probably but not illegally.
Those changes to the contract sound reasonable as a response to changes economics. They are all perks really, and if there are sound business reasons for removing them, such as the economic climate and business can't afford it or whatever, then you will find it hard to win a claim because it would be considered reasonable and the new job as a suitable alternative. Also check his current contract for a flexibility clause which would allow changes to things like that anyway because if that's in there then you won't win.