Taking the voluntary route

Julian cole portrait.

Julian Cole

Senior Solicitor

Phone 01264 353411

Email jcole@bsandi.co.uk

Employers often enter into redundancy with a heavy heart. It can mean losing good people who have served them well over the years. It also means embarking on a process that will suck up a significant amount of HR and management time. But it’s all done with the interests of the business in mind.

Of course, redundancy is usually a far-from-ideal outcome for an employee too. It strips away the security that comes with a job. It forces them to ask, with some urgency: what next?

The ‘what next?’ question will strike fear into some. But, for others, it will spark excitement; new ideas, new opportunities. And this is a reason why voluntary redundancy can really appeal to an employee who has been thinking about other work options – a change of employer, starting a new business, a career break. It can provide the freedom (and the trigger) to explore those avenues, with a redundancy payment in the bank.  

Employers can also benefit from the voluntary route. For one thing, it could mean that no one has to be made compulsorily redundant. But while voluntary redundancy is an employee’s consensual departure from a business, it is far from an informal arrangement. It still counts as a dismissal, and both the employer and employee should take care to properly tie things up safely and with certainty.

If you are an employee considering voluntary redundancy, you should make sure the deal you are offered includes everything it should and that you’re happy to leave on that basis. We have advised many clients over the years whose proposed redundancy packages have fallen short because their employer hadn’t taken account of certain benefits or had miscalculated holiday pay. So it can be a really good idea to have legal advice on your position.

Employment law solicitors like us are also involved in the final stages of the redundancy process. It’s common for an employer to want the departing employee to sign a settlement agreement confirming that, in return for the redundancy deal, he or she won’t bring certain employment law claims against the business. One of the requirements of a valid settlement agreement is that the employee receives independent legal advice. As part of that process, your employment law solicitor will explain the terms and effect of the agreement and may even be able to help you leave on better terms – for example, negotiating more compensation or a useful reference.

For advice about any aspect of compulsory or voluntary redundancy, contact us on 01264 353411 or email info@bsandi.co.uk.

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