Once a redundancy notice has been issued by an employer to the relevant employees, a change of circumstances within the business may mean that the redundancy is no longer necessary.
Which begs the question, can a redundancy notice be withdrawn?
While a redundancy notice is legally binding, it can still be withdrawn, but only with the express consent of the employees in question.
However, the employee is under no obligation to accept the offer to withdraw the redundancy; they must bear in mind that if they refuse the offer, this may affect their entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment.
What The Law Says
Section 141 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states that if an employee unreasonably refuses an offer of suitable alternative employment, and they are subsequently dismissed due to redundancy, they lose the right to a statutory redundancy payment.
The offer in question must be made before the employee’s current contract comes to an end, and must take effect immediately following the end of the previous contract, or no more than 4 weeks after it.
The offer of employment must either be on the same terms and conditions as the previous contract or be a suitable alternative role for the employee.
So Can The Redundancy Process Be Reversed?
An employer can offer an employee their old job back, if they feel the redundancy is no longer necessary, essentially reversing the process.
However, if the employee turns down the offer to have their old job back, on the same terms and conditions of employment, then their employer will be entitled to argue that the employee is not owed a statutory redundancy payment, as they have unreasonably turned down a suitable offer of employment.
How suitable an alternative role may be, is an objective test.
However, the employee’s refusal of the role is something that will be assessed on an individual basis, taking into account the employee’s personal circumstances.
For example, if an employee declines to have their old job back because they have already found alternative employment during their notice period, the tribunal will most likely find that the employee’s refusal was reasonable in all the circumstances.
However, if the employee refused the offer in order to get a redundancy payment, is more likely to be deemed unreasonable.
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