The simple definition of redundancy is, “The need for people to carry out work of a particular kind has ceased or will cease, has diminished or will diminish, at that site.” The starting point therefore is that the job disappears leaving the job holder holding on by the skin of their teeth.
The law lays down duties to consult in a potential redundancy situation. Although the more draconian rules i.e. to consult for 30 days if 20 or more potential redundancies are contemplated within the next 90 days and 90 days consultation for 100 redundancies or more, apply only to those scenarios. It is nevertheless important also to consider any contractual terms, for example a redundancy policy or trade union agreement and case law to ensure that the selection process and any subsequent dismissals are fair.
There is no timescale laid down by statute between when a redundancy occurs and any related recruitment in the future. It will depend on the facts in each case. Dismissing someone by paying eight weeks’ pay in lieu of notice when you know that more work will be arriving in six weeks’ time is going to cause a problem. Obtaining more work, unexpectedly, a few days after termination will not.
Recruiting someone into the same job you have just officially done away with by using a different job title is asking for trouble. Our experience is such that one person is rarely a redundancy – it is far more likely to be a conduct or capability problem being incorrectly described as redundancy.
Many employers and employees believe that redundancies are not dismissals, but it is a dismissal. If someone deserves dismissal then attach the proper label and procedures. False labelling and procedures will cost at tribunal as they are very able to spot this deception.