Reduction on overtime
Employers should first look to see how much overtime is being carried out and whether this can be reduced or eliminated altogether. If there is a limited amount of work then it should be spread evenly throughout the workforce, thereby reducing the need to make individuals redundant.
Freeze on recruitment
It may seem obvious but employers should cease to take on new people, or at least restrict any recruitment to absolute necessity, if they wish to save costs. Taking on new people is costly in terms of time and money spent on the recruitment process itself and training the new recruit. Although there will be no right to a redundancy payment until an individual has been employed for two years, he or she may have other claims such as unfair dismissal or discrimination.
Some members of the workforce may be coming up to retirement and some may wish to take retirement early with all their pension rights still intact (or even enhanced). If an employer needs to save costs it may be a good starting place to ask for volunteers for early retirement. Of course, those who retire should not be replaced if the employer genuinely needs to cut costs.
Employers may find that some members of the workforce would be willing to take voluntary redundancy. Employees should be informed what the basis of the redundancy package would be and asked whether there are any volunteers on that basis. Employers may offer an enhanced redundancy payment or extra pension entitlement in exchange for agreeing to a voluntary redundancy. One problem with this course of action is that the “wrong” people may come forward for redundancy, in many cases the good people whom employers would rather not lose.
It is important to handle any employment restructuring with care, please contact Alistair Wells.