D-BRIEF – Employment & Pensions Blog: Redundancy: doing the right thing

With the UK now officially in a recession, and the furlough scheme winding down, many employers are considering making redundancies in an attempt to protect their businesses.

This is sad news in itself for those affected, but recent surveys and statistics show that those redundancy processes which are being implemented are having a disproportionate impact on certain groups which suggests that some are not being run properly.

Here are some of the starkest statistics:

From ONS data:

  • The number of workers fell by 730,000 between March and July 2020
  • 18 – 24 year olds and older workers were most at risk of losing their jobs

From the Citizen Advice Bureau’s “An unequal crisis” report which polled 6000 people

  • More than 25% with a disability were at risk of redundancy
  • Nearly 40% of those who were parents and carers were at risk of redundancy
  • Just under half of those who classed as clinically extremely vulnerable during the pandemic were now at risk of redundancy

From Hope not Hate’s research

  • BAME employees were nearly twice as likely to have lost their jobs than others

For all HR professionals about to embark on a redundancy programme, it is important to pause and analyse the reasons for redundancy within your organisation and in particular the selection criteria applied to assure yourselves that your process is fair and reasonable.

Many employers want to take action to tackle unconscious bias within their organisations and redundancy programmes would be an opportunity to put that commitment into practice, although some of the statistics (particularly around parents, carers and disabled employees) are likely generated by organisations who are consciously as much as unconsciously discriminating.

If you are implementing a redundancy programme then you should also be aware of a new initiative launched by the Government to provide support for those affected. The ‘Rapid Response Service’ (RRS) has been set up to assist affected employees with preparing CVs and finding a new job, identifying their transferable skills and training needs, and providing training to help develop vocational skills.

Employers can contact the RRS to explore what package of support measures could be made available to their employees.  The service is free and could be a useful additional resource for some organisations to support their employees to mitigate the effects of being made redundant by securing another job elsewhere.

We will be hosting a webinar on redundancy processes on 23 September at 11am. Look out for the invitation in your Inbox next week, on our Events page or via our Social Media channels. 

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