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Getting It Right: Redundancies - The Pool

Getting It Right: Redundancies - The Pool
Richard Hiron Dec 08,2020
blog post

No doubt many reading this latest blog post on redundancy will be thinking of an inviting tropical swimming pool when they see the word “the pool”.

Sadly, this latest instalment is not focused on such luxury. However, the process that is being considered does not need to be incredibly difficult either – it just needs to be considered quite carefully before you go diving in!

Before you can select employees for redundancy, you need to think quite carefully about the group or “pool” that they will fall into. Often, this can follow a departmental structure, for instance if a business needs less receptionists, waiting staff or engine installers then each category of role would likely form their own separate pool. It is also possible to have a pool comprising only one employee.

The difficulty arises where members of that pool perform more than one function. For instance, if a receptionist is also a secretary and the business needs less secretaries, then the multi-tasking receptionist might also rightly fall into the pool of secretaries at risk of redundancy. If the waiter or waitress also performs cleaning services and the business needs less cleaners, then the waiter or waitress could be pooled with the other cleaning staff. If the engine installer also drives a forklift when times are quiet and the business needs less forklift drivers to support its assembly line, then the engine installer could become pooled with the other forklift drivers.

One of the things that will assist you, as an employer, in working out and subsequently justifying your pool(s) of employees for redundancy will be to return to the contracts of employment of the affected employees and to ensure that their roles and job descriptions are up-to-date in reflecting the work that they are currently performing. For example, it is of little use placing a waitress in a cleaning team on a sustained basis without updating her contract of employment and job description to reflect her actual role in the business.

To make things easier for yourself if you do come to a redundancy situation, it can also make practical sense to have separate contracts of employment for the separate roles that an employee is performing so that, if one role is likely to end whilst the other is surviving, the surviving role will remain unaffected by the redundancy if it is still needed. However, you will still need to pay redundancy pay (depending on the employee’s length of service and any enhanced redundancy pay that you might offer) if one of those roles ends by reason of redundancy.

Returning to your planning at the outset of the redundancy process, your pools should already be clearly defined, giving you a head start. If not, then you might need to work extra hard to explain why certain employees are appearing in your pool. 

This article is intended for information purposes only and not as a substitute for legal advice. TP Legal does not accept any responsibility for any decisions that you may make as a result of reading this article.