Graduate: `I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go'

As the City prepares for yet another bout of `downsizing',

Ian Hunter outlines the obligations of a company to staff who are made redundant.

It is not hard to imagine that the personnel departments in Union Bank Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation will be working late this Christmas. In all probability they will be finalising a redundancy programme for the estimated 3,000 City-based employees who are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the merger.

Handling redundancies requires sensitivity, care and, on occasion, a considerable helping of toughness. Personnel departments have to try to manage employees' anxieties while making sure that implementing the redundancy programme does not turn into a financial disaster.

Everyone who is dismissed talks about being made redundant. In reality redundancy is only one form of dismissal, which occurs when the employer needs fewer employees to run its business.

The general position on dismissal is that an employee has two potential claims against his employer, one contractual and the other statutory. Contractual claims are usually caused by the failure of the employer to give adequate notice of its intention to terminate an employee's contract.

In such a case, the starting-point for calculating damages is an amount equal to the value of the salary and other fringe benefits (such as the use of a car, and pension contributions) to which the employee would have been entitled during the notice period.

An employee who has been employed continuously for two years or more enjoys additional statutory protection on dismissal. (This time limit is currently being considered by the European Court of Justice.) He or she may have claims for either unfair dismissal, or redundancy, or both.

Where an employee is made redundant, a claim for unfair dismissal will succeed only if the procedure used in selecting who should be made redundant is found to have been unfair.

To minimise the risk of a redundancy giving rise to a successful claim for unfair dismissal, an employer should ensure that it has a fair selection procedure, and that the choice of a particular employee is a fair application of that procedure.

Many employers have contractual redundancy schemes which entitle employees to receive enhanced payments. Typically, an employee may receive a month's pay for each completed year of service.

Employers should, wherever possible, give employees advance notice of any proposed redundancies, and consult with them individually as to the nature of the losses and what form they will take. If the employer fails to consult, unless he can show that such consultation would not have made any difference, the dismissal will be deemed to be unfair.

Employers who are intending to make redundant 20 or more employees are under a statutory duty to consult with any recognised trade unions, or, alternatively, employee representatives elected from the workforce.

The larger the number of prospective redundant employees, the longer the period of consultation that is required.An employer is under an additional statutory duty to notify the Department of Trade and Industry if it intends to dismiss 20 or more employees. Failure to comply with this obligation could result in the employer being fined up to pounds 5,000.

Personnel officers need to consider the practical aspects of a redundancy. How should the dismissal be handled? Do the managers effecting the dismissals need a script? Are the employees clear about how to accept any offer made to them?

Those handling the redundancies will need to consider how the employees will react. Dismissal can be a traumatic experience. Can dismissed employees be allowed to return to their desks, or is it necessary to escort them immediately from the premises?

Where redundancy has been insensitively handled, there have been cases of agitated employees taking their frustration out on the company's highly expensive and sophisticated computer systems. Who said working in personnel was all about being cuddly and soft?

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Foundation Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Early Years and Foundation stage Prim...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers needed for ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone