Am I being offered a suitable alternative to redundancy?

My role has just been put at risk of redundancy as a result of a review and subsequent restructure. The role that has been created will incorporate my current duties as an HR Manager, but has been expanded to include L&D lead (which I was responsible for prior to previous restructure two years ago), as H&S lead. The new post is also to be at a higher grade salary. I currently work 30 hours per week. This role would be 37.5 (which I have worked previously with the organisation until I was asked to revert to 30 hours again). The only difference I can see is the incorporation of H&S (approximately 5-10% of role) and the increased level. Would this constitute a significant difference?

I note from your question that your current job is at risk of redundancy and you have been offered alternative employment. It is established by case law that a dismissal for redundancy may be unfair if your employer fails to make a reasonable search for suitable alternative employment for you. If you then unreasonably reject an offer of suitable alternative employment then you will forfeit your right to a redundancy payment. I note from your question that you have been offered a role that incorporates your current duties as a HR Manager, but has been expanded to include L&D lead. Your hours and pay would also increase if you accepted the offer.

In making an objective assessment of the suitability of alternative employment offered, an employment tribunal would have regard to your skills, aptitudes and experience and whether they meet the requirements of the job on offer, the terms of the alternative job (for example, status, place of work, tasks to be performed, pay, hours and responsibility) and how they compare with the terms of your current employment. From what you state in your question I would suggest that the main significant differences between your current role and the one that has been offered, that may not be suitable, are the hours and duties.

In respect of your hours, a tribunal would consider both the total number and arrangement of working hours when considering whether alternative employment is suitable. The impact on your outside commitments may be relevant so for example if you have childcare obligations then this would be taken into account when considering if the new role is appropriate. In respect of your duties, comparisons should be drawn between your current  job and the new role offered by the employer. This shows whether the employer’s offer suitably matches your skills. If the new role is likely to make demands that you cannot meet, the new role would likely be unsuitable.

I would also note that where suitable alternative employment is offered, it should be subject to a trial period if the terms of the new employment differ in any respect from your existing terms. If you did decide to take the alternative employment then you can look to do so on a trial basis. A statutory trial period starts when your employment under your existing contract ends and lasts for four weeks. This can, however, be extended. This will give you an opportunity to see how the new role compares to the old.

Should you require any further clarification on the above points then please do not hesitate to contact Tracey Guest on 0161 672 1425.

*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.





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