Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), in partnership with the recruiter Adecco, has been published today. The research found that a third (33%) of organisations expect to make redundancies in the next three months, in what has been described as a “sombre autumn” by a CIPD advisor.

Although the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) has staved off redundancies over the summer, the closing of the scheme to new entrants at the end of June, and the gradual wind-down of the scheme until the end of October, has merely bought time for some employers, who are now facing the difficult decision to make redundancies in the coming months.

While making redundancies in difficult times seems like a straightforward option, employers should be alive to the various pitfalls that can create risk.

For example, even if an employee has been furloughed for months, and it is clear that their role no longer exists, the employer should still follow a fair redundancy process (especially where the employee has more than 2 years’ service). This will involve carrying out a series of consultation meetings with the employee, at which they are given opportunities to suggest alternatives to redundancy.

Employers should also be aware of the requirement to actively look for suitable alternative employment for employees before they are made redundant: this obligation runs until the employee’s termination date, not just the day they are given notice, and a failure to do this can make the dismissal unfair.

It is also important to remember that if a company is looking at making 20 or more redundancies within 90 days at one “establishment”, it will need to collectively consult with staff. This will likely involve appointing employee representatives, and carrying out both collective and individual consultation. There are minimum time periods for collective consultation (45 days where an employer is making over 99 redundancies), so employers should ensure they leave enough time, especially if they would like to complete the process before the CJRS closes.

If you are planning on making redundancies soon and have any questions or need support, please contact us.