Specialising in HR, we’re often asked by our clients to help across a number of HR related areas, from gross misconduct to dress code queries. Many of these questions are relevant for all businesses and industries across the UK, so to help you, we’ve created our Q&A section to help businesses understand HR and how they can tackle any problems that may arise.
How should I select employees for redundancy?
The selection pool (that is, those identified as at risk of redundancy) and the objective (and independently verifiable) selection criteria need to be applied fairly and consistently.
The selection pool
If you have no redundancy procedure or customary arrangement that specifies how a selection pool should be chosen, you will need to identify the employees whose work has either ceased or diminished, or is expected to do so or is no longer required at that location. The selection pool will include employees undertaking similar work in the same department or location. An employee’s inclusion in the pool should be consistent with the work he or she does. An employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave can be included in the pool, but employers must exercise caution: employees on maternity leave selected for redundancy are automatically entitled to be offered a suitable alternative job where a vacancy exists.
An employer who incorrectly identifies that no pool is necessary risks a tribunal finding that dismissal unfair. A pool of one is potentially fair but a wider pool is usually more appropriate.
When drawing up redundancy selection criteria, you should aim to use fair and objective criteria that have been precisely defined and that can be applied independently. You will also need to choose criteria which will help maintain a workforce that can best support your future needs, particularly in terms of experience and skills.
The following are all suitable starting points for deciding the selection criteria.
- Attendance and disciplinary records — but avoid taking into account pregnancy and disability-related absences, or absence resulting from injury at work, as this could be deemed discriminatory.
- Skills and experience, including those needed for the further development of the business.
- Standard of work performance, provided the assessment of the performance is objective.
- Aptitude for work.
You must ensure that these criteria are assessed objectively and applied fairly. Last in, first out (LIFO) may be used as part of the selection criteria but not on its own as it is potentially discriminatory.
An appeals procedure should be established to deal with employees who complain that they have been unfairly selected for redundancy.