My wife has worked for a NHS trust for 17 years. Last year after 10 years in a Band 6 (sister grade) role, the trust commenced a restructuring exercise, the final outcome of which was that her role was made redundant. At the last minute she was redeployed into an equivalent grade post in an entirely different role based in a different site. At the time she sought and was given verbal guarantees that she was not moving to a role which may be similarly affected in future and therefore was quite happy to embrace the change.This week, just slightly less than 12 months later, she has been advised that there is to be a further restructuring and once again her current role is to be made redundant. The principle options available to her are:• Apply for an equivalent role in the new structure (which are all currently occupied, and the incumbents will almost certainly also re-apply), and if unsuccessful accept a demoted post, with a 3 year pay protection of her band 6 salary,• Apply direct for a demotion to a band 5 role which will lose her 3 year protected pay and mean that she would become an equal of staff she was previously managing.• Take redundancy if it is offered.Does she have any other options?Should she have been “ring-fenced” this time in the light of her recent redeployment?At what point could this sort of treatment be considered constructive dismissal?
Province/Country relating to question: UK England
Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please let me know if there are any alternatives that she considers suitable at this stage?
hello, thank you for your response. It is not easy to explain the original and new structures because they are quite large and involve several different sites and medical disciplines.
In simple terms all the band 7 and 6 staff are affected.
5 band seven jobs have been reduced to 1 with the rest being down graded to band 6, this means there will be a lot of competion for the band 6 roles, with the existing bad 7 incumbents probably in pole position. She does not want to accept a band 5 role due to a) the reduction in income\pension etc, and b) the difficulty in working with staff she was previously managing. Obviously redundancy will advserely affect her NHS pension, so that is a last resort, and is not on the table yet, since it will only be offered if no SUITABLE redployment can be offered. if she rejects two "sutitable" offers, then any redundancy offer lapses to SRP terms.
Whilst I understand that she was given verbal guarantees that the job may not be affected in the future, these guarantees are unlikely to have a legally binding effect, especially due to the unpredictable nature of the employment and economic situations at present and the fact that changes can be instigated at any time by the Government and parties beyond the employer's control.
So it is unlikely that any such guarantees will be seen as a watertight agreement between employer and employee and sadly she may be subjected to future restructuring where her job may be affected.
In terms of her options, then by law she only has two:
She does not have the automatic right to be ringfenced now unless there is a specific policy that allows for this. I suspect that this may be dealt with under the Agenda for Change document so she needs to take a close look at the redundancy section in there to see what her rights here are.
As to constructive dismissal, it occurs when the following two elements are present:
I would not say that this is constructive dismissal, especially considering the state of the NHS at present and the need to save costs, which is evidently widespread.
I understand what you are saying, but the point in this case is that the only role which has completely disappeared is hers. All the others have been redefined and regraded. Bearing in mind that this was exactly what happened last time, she quite understandably feels that she is being targeted. Her sickness and disciplinary records are excellent and all her annual reviews have been positive, so why is it that on consecutive occasions she has been the one selected to go each time?
If she accepts the terms this time, and it is repeated again, at what point does it become personal?
I cannot comment on the reasons behind the selection of the role to disappear as only the employer knows these. Generally speaking, redundancy is used to describe a situation in which an employer decides to reduce the number of its employees, either within the business as a whole, or within a particular site, business unit, function or job role. An employer may decide to make redundancies for a variety of reasons, including recession or other economic pressures requiring business closure or reduction in staff number, changes in the nature of products/services offered, internal reorganisations, relocation of business, etc. The reason for the proposed redundancies will not be challenged and the employer will simple have to justify that the actual reason conformed to the statutory definition of a redundancy. It is impossible to say at what time it becomes personal because every time the employer could have a justifiable reason and whether they can show this was a valid redundancy situation and that she is just being unfortunate will vary from one situation to the other
ok, thank you for now. I will discuss with her tonight and may need to ask something further over the next few days.
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Expert in UK Employment Law
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