In a redundancy situation, there is no statutory obligation on you to seek volunteers. However, you might have a contractual obligation if you have a redundancy procedure which says that you will always seek volunteers before moving to compulsory redundancies, or you might have an implied contractual term that you will seek volunteers if that is what you always do. If you do have a contractual voluntary redundancy scheme you must adhere to it
In Lynam and another v Birmingham City Council  the employer announced a voluntary redundancy scheme, which included terms which were more generous than those for compulsory redundancy, and made it applicable to certain groups of employees.
At a later date, a group of employees were told that they could no longer apply for voluntary redundancy. That group had originally been covered by the voluntary redundancy scheme.
A few months later that group of employees were all made compulsorily redundant. They successfully argued that this action was a breach of contract.
It was held that the voluntary redundancy scheme which had been put forward to the employees was contractual. Not following this contractual procedure was an unlawful breach of contract.
- Review any redundancy procedure that you have and check if it states whether or not you will ask for volunteers. If you are not sure whether the procedure is contractual, contact us for advice.
- Consider if you wish to retain a redundancy procedure moving forwards, if you do have one.
- If you are in a redundancy situation, consider if you want to ask for volunteers. If you do, make sure that you are clear about the way that you will select from those who do volunteer.
If an individual is made redundant after volunteering, the individual is still entitled to a statutory redundancy payment, and counts as one of the number of jobs being made redundant when you determine the length of any collective consultation you must engage with. If you are not sure, contact us for advice.
For voluntary redundancy rules or advice on voluntary redundancy procedure please contact Sarah Tahamtani on 0113 336 3314 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
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