I’m in a redundancy pool at a local supermarket. I joined as a manager in 2003. I have worked part time for over a decade – 25 hours a week. We have four positions in our store available and six managers are in pool. However, all positions are full time and I am the only part-time manager. I have a second job and childcare issues. If I refuse, what can happen?
I’m sorry to hear this is happening to you. In terms of the redundancy process, for them to fairly terminate your employment contract for redundancy they need to show the following things:
If they don’t carry out the process properly you could potentially have a claim for unfair dismissal based on redundancy.
They should approach the scoring process objectively and not take into account the fact you currently work part time. If you score in the first four employees, legally you should be offered the opportunity to take the role as one of the highest-scoring employees. As they are advertising the roles on a full-time basis, the role they are required to offer you would be a full-time role. If you want to take it on a part-time basis you could make a flexible working request with the hours you’d want to work; i.e your current working hours. They would then need to consider this in the normal way as part of the consultation.
You could consider whether you would want to work it part time or as part of a job share, and discuss the potential options with them. You should emphasise during the meetings how you do the role at the moment and try and explain why you think that could continue in the new structure.
The company would then need to consider whether the job could be done part time or as a job share. If they consider it still needs to be full time they would need to be able to show they have a legitimate aim for the role being full time. I.e. a good and justifiable business reason. They will also need to be able to show that the full-time role is a proportionate way of meeting this business reason. If they don’t have a good justification for the role being full time you may potentially have a claim for indirect sex discrimination.
Whilst you may potentially have legal claims you could pursue at the end of the process, practically, we’d always recommend you try to challenge the situation with them during the internal process and try to negotiate with them regarding a part-time role.
I hope the consultation process goes well and they are open to hearing about your proposals for working part time or in a job share arrangement.
*Charlotte Farrell and Tabytha Cunningham are Associate Solicitors at Paris Smith in Southampton.