Help for small firms

Handling small-scale redundancies - A step-by-step guide

Step 3: Choose redundant staff

Handling small-scale redundancies - Step 3

Choose redundant staff carefully

When you are making an entire, specific group of staff redundant, you have already identified a clear criteria and pool for who you need to make redundant (for example, if a farm shop closes its bakery, it will no longer need any bakers).

However, many employers wish to reduce staff/team numbers rather than remove a certain role completely (for example, if an estate agent has less business, it may not need as many staff to sell houses, handle admin or deal with customer enquiries). In this case, you'll need to set up a selection criteria for the pool of staff to be considered for redundancy.

The pool (staff at risk of redundancy)

In many cases, the pool of staff to choose may seem obvious. However, where there is a business need, you may widen the pool to include staff with a lower skill-level, even though the redundancy might not directly affect them, to ensure you retain key staff for future growth. See Real-life situation - selecting who will leave for an example of how this can be applied.

The selection criteria

Once you identify a pool, decide how to fairly and objectively choose between them. Draw up a list of criteria using the Selection criteria summary in the 'Useful tools' section of this guide. You don't have to use all of the criteria, nor is the list exhaustive, but make sure you use more than one and ideally three to demonstrate your selection is fair and in line with business interests. Also, remember to consult with your employees about your choice of criteria.

It may help to hold staff interviews to select the most appropriate person(s) for redundancy. Be careful here - interviews can be subjective and there is a risk your choice may be based on how you feel about a person, rather than using your selection criteria. If you do conduct interviews, you could consider running these as part of a wider more objective selection process.

If you are making more than one group of staff redundant, it may be appropriate to use different selection criteria for different groups (for example, using sales statistics as part of a selection criteria would be unique for sales staff and would not apply to security staff).

Take care not to discriminate against anyone, - for example, exclude any absences or attendance issues in relation to disability, pregnancy or maternity.

What are the protected characteristics in discrimination?

Remember, it is unlawful to discriminate against people at work because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief and sex. To find out more visit our Equality and discrimination page.

What should I do about maternity leave?

An employer must consult with an employee on maternity leave. Also, maternity leave should never be factored into absence scores. Similarly, ensure you don't test other criteria such as productivity or sales during maternity leave periods - and all employees should be scored from the same period where possible. For more detail on maternity and redundancy see the joint Acas & EHRC guide Managing redundancy for pregnant employees or those on maternity leave.

Previous StepNext Step