What do you need to know when constructing a redundancy letter?

Covid-19 | Covid-19 Advice | Employment & Skills | How To | Legal

Advice by Andrew Willis, Head of Legal at employment law and HR consultancy, Croner

Letters are the primary way of keeping employees in the know regarding redundancy. The UK employment law requires you to issue letters at all stages throughout the process. But how do you start writing such an important letter? And what should you include in each one?

What is a redundancy letter?

There are several types of redundancy letter. The one thing they all have in common is they serve to keep the employee informed about redundancy proceedings. Whether the letter is informing them their position is at risk of redundancy, inviting them to a consultation meeting, or telling them you’ve selected them for redundancy, you need to write them in a way that ensures your legal compliance.

Redundancy letter types

There are several types of letters. Including:

  • Job at risk of redundancy letter.
  • Redundancy consultation letter.
  • Redundancy notice letter.

The first letter should be the initial contact with the employee(s) about the potential for redundancy. The second should be the letter you send to invite them to a consultation meeting. And, the final letter should inform them that you’ve selected them for redundancy and what the next steps will be. Do note that may not necessarily be the final letter. There can be more at that stage, such as a second consultation meeting. The letter process moves in stages.

What should I include in a redundancy letter?

In the letter, you should provide employees as much information on the redundancy process as possible. This means communicating updates, as well as what upper management is doing to ensure all alternatives to redundancy are being considered.  It would be best if you also informed employees of their rights at all times. For example, certain employees might be eligible for redundancy pay.

How to write a redundancy letter to employees

There are some key considerations when writing a redundancy letter to employees. The first, and most important from your perspective, is compliance. To avoid claims of unfair dismissal, you must follow a fair and legally compliant process. Otherwise, you may face a costly and damaging employment tribunal. So, the question you should be asking with each letter is, “Will this open me up to claims?” If the answer is anything other than a no, don’t proceed. The second thing to consider is whether you’ve accurately conveyed all the relevant information.  Don’t send a letter to an employee until you’re certain of the plan moving forward. Know how long your consultation process will be and how you are going to conduct meetings before you start inviting employees to meetings. With those three considerations in mind, let’s move on to how to write a redundancy letter.

Begin “Dear Sir/Madam”. Then, outline the purpose of your letter. If the objective is to inform the employee that their role is at risk of redundancy, tell them that. If it’s asking them to attend a consultancy meeting, tell them that. Next, you’ll want to outline what they need to know, including their rights. Let’s use the redundancy notice letter as an example. Here, you’ll need to tell them how many weeks’ notice they are entitled to, and why. You should tell them how your organisation will treat accrued annual leave if not taken before their final date of employment. Inform them of how much redundancy pay they can expect, and when they will receive it. Finally, inform them of their right to appeal the decision. Finalise the letter with a more personal touch Redundancy is a stressful and emotional time for the employee. Tell them that your door is open for discussion, and where they can find support if they need it.

Every business is different, so you must adapt any template or guide you’re given for your organisation.

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