The government has set up a Rapid Response Service (RRS) providing information free of charge to both employers and employees in the event that redundancies are made.
Employees can contact the RRS in advance of being made redundant (even if the redundancy has not yet been confirmed); during the notice period once the redundancy has been confirmed; and up to 13 weeks after they have been made redundant.
According to the information provided by the government, employees can get help from Jobcentre Plus RRS about things like:
- writing CVs and finding jobs
- finding general information about benefits
- finding details about new training opportunities and learning new skills
- organising work trials for those who are eligible
- accessing extra help at work for those who are disabled.
As for employers, the factsheet advises that they get in touch with the service as soon as an employee becomes “at risk of” redundancy or during the period of notice after the redundancy has been confirmed. The government claims that it can provide employers with a “tailored package of support through our network of partners, at no cost to you.”
It also advises employers to contact a range of different agencies for help including Jobcentre Plus, ACAS, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Insolvency Service.
What the factsheets do not do, however, is tell employers how they might find ways to avoid job losses. Nor is the government offering financial or other support in order to minimise them.
Likewise, although the factsheet tells employers that they need to consider whether they are required to consult with recognised unions or elected employee representatives in relation to potential redundancies, they do not suggest liaising with unions at the earliest possible stage to try to avoid (or at the very least minimise) any redundancies.
Thompsons advises that, if redundancies are unavoidable, workers consider a settlement agreement which may offer a practical way forward. In that event, they should contact Thompsons’ settlement agreement unit at: https://www.thompsons.law/services/settlement-agreements
To read the factsheet for employees in full, go to: https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights/get-help-finding-a-new-job
To read the factsheet for employers in full, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/redundancy-support-for-employers/redundancy-factsheet-for-employers