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Businesses encouraged to explore creative solutions to avoid redundancies
Acas has published a blog post encouraging employers to “do the right thing” and consider alternatives to redundancies.
Acas’s blog post was inspired by their earlier research showing that 30% of employers reported that they are likely to make redundancies over the next 12 months. That figure rises to 41% amongst larger employers.
The uncertain times these figures indicate we are navigating are compounded by ONS figures showing a further month-on-month reduction in vacancies combined with an increase in work-seekers and increased numbers of business insolvencies. Acas has also experienced an increase of calls about redundancy in 2022-23 with helpline advisers reporting that callers were exhibiting extreme stress and anxiety when facing potential redundancy situations.
Acas’s Director of Strategy and External Affairs, Kirsty Watt, encouraged employers in her blog post to consider alternatives to redundancy and mentioned some which employers had implemented, including:
- Increasing the availability of part-time and flexible working.
- Reducing the availability of overtime.
- Offering staff alternative roles and retraining.
The blog post emphasised that successful outcomes emerge when employers and employees work together for a shared purpose, and ‘creative solutions’ to redundancy can help ensure loyal skilled staff are retained. Businesses successfully exploring alternatives to redundancy can also benefit from a positive effect on morale and avoid the associated costs of redundancies.
Nevertheless, Acas acknowledged that sometimes redundancies are necessary and need to be made following a fair process. Acas outlined five key principles for a fair redundancy process, including being:
There is no doubt that considering redundancies is a difficult position for any business to find itself in and it follows that it is important to explore alternatives to that outcome. Equally, it is important for employers to be realistic and aware of situations where redundancy is necessary. Once identified as necessary it is pivotal in managing risk, to follow a fair process.