I’ve been in a secondment for 29 months at a higher band and I’ve been made aware that my previous lower band role has been made redundant as part of a management restructure. I’ve been offered a substantive post on the same band as my old job, but wondered if I could claim pay protection after the time in my secondment? The job I’m seconded to is being advertised externally, which I have applied for, but I have no guarantee of getting it, leaving me with a considerable cut in earnings.
Secondments should not normally be for longer than two years. If a post is likely to exceed two years, this should be advertised as a fixed-term contract rather than a secondment opportunity. Employees on open contracts may choose to apply for a fixed-term post, but there is no automatic entitlement to return to their substantive post.
If the arrangement was well documented, with a clear agreement about what happens at the end of the secondment, there will be less risk in making a claim. If the secondment was extended a Tribunal may well decide that in effect this gave rise to a “permanent” position, especially as the arrangement has lasted over two years.
There may be a potential claim for unfair dismissal if your employer can’t justify removing you from the post. To say that you were not successful in interview, they will need to provide evidence of this.
Alternatively, as you have been in post for more than two years you could claim redundancy if you did not accept that whatever post you were moving to was a “reasonable alternative”. This often happens when someone has been seconded to a more senior post and then is asked to move back to their old role which may not be a “suitable alternative” to the post they were “seconded” to. After two years a more junior post is unlikely to be a “reasonable alternative”.