Redundancy situation: can an employee be made redundant if they refuse to move location?

Year Published: 2019

Our requirements for a particular role have changed and we need someone with different qualifications. Can I redeploy the employee in that role to another site or make them redundant if they refuse? 

This is potentially a redundancy situation; the employer’s need for a particular skill set has changed and the need for the kind of work the employee is doing has ceased or diminished.

Nick Brown, HR Consultant at SAS Daniels LLP

Nick Brown, HR Consultant

It is important to note that if there are 20 or more redundancies proposed then the consultation period must begin at least 30 days before any dismissals take effect. If 100 or more redundancies are proposed, then the consultation must begin at least 45 days before any dismissals take effect.

Subject to any policy, as it appears only one person is potentially affected here, there is no collective redundancy process, however there should be a structured approach and a reasonable consultation with the employee.

What steps should be taken during the redundancy consultation?

The first step is to set out the reason for the proposal in a business case. A side or two on A4 is fine, it does not need to be war and peace, although there should be enough detail for the employee to be able to fully engage in the consultation process.

The next step would be to meet with the employee and, where relevant, union or employee representatives. They should be given the opportunity to consider the proposal, ask questions and raise proposals of their own. We would suggest the following:

  • Initial announcement meeting to confirm the employee is at risk of redundancy;
  • A minimum of two, one to one, consultation meetings;
  • If no alternatives found then a final meeting to confirm the decision;
  • Let the employee know they have a right to appeal the decision.

As part of the consultation process, one alternative that should be considered is the offer of the alternative role at another site. If they reject this and no other alternatives have been found, then the decision to make the employee redundant may be made. It is important to note that if the alternative role is a suitable alternative (based on status, job content, pay and benefits, hours of work, location) and the employee unreasonably refuses the offer, then they will be treated as having been dismissed and will lose their right to a statutory redundancy payment.

Whether an alternative role is a suitable alternative can be difficult to assess, therefore if you require any advice or assistance on this or any part of the redundancy process, please do contact us for advice.

For more information on redundancy situations, please contact Nick Brown in our Education and Employment team on 0161 475 7674. Alternatively, please contact Stephen Foster, Joint Head of our Education and Employment Law team on 0161 475 7664.


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