The College values all of its employees and is committed to the provision of job security and continuity of employment. This stance is central to the maintenance of an environment which encourages creative teaching and research, and which offers the continued provision of professional, administrative, and technical support that is so vital to our work.
However, as a result of changes in external funding, technological development, changed organisational requirements, reduced student demand, or other reasons, it is recognised that situations may arise where it is necessary to give consideration to a reduction in employee numbers or to the discontinuation of jobs in certain areas of the organisation. When such situations arise, the College will endeavour to manage these challenges without recourse to the dismissal of employees or to compulsory redundancies, but when this is not possible this policy ensures fair and equitable practice.
This policy applies to all categories of employees whose employment is to be terminated prematurely by reason of redundancy. However, for Academic staff the relevant aspects of Statute 28 will over-ride this policy where they are more favourable.
This policy will apply to the ending, non-renewal or non-extension of fixed-term contracts where the justification is that of ‘redundancy’ rather than that of ‘some other substantial reason’. See paragraph 1.2 Fixed-Term Contracts below for further details.
1.1 Definition of Redundancy
Redundancy is defined in s.139 (i) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The definition provides that an employee who is dismissed shall be taken to be dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to:
1.2 Fixed Term Contracts
When a fixed-term contract comes to an end and is not renewed or extended, this constitutes a dismissal under English law. The reason for the dismissal will vary from case to case. However, the two main reasons for a dismissal of this sort will be ‘redundancy’, or ‘some other substantial reason’.
The expiry of a fixed-term contract will normally be considered to be a redundancy if the work for which the individual was employed has diminished, or ceases to exist. This would cover projects, which have run their course, where a programme of study is terminated as a result of low student enrolments and where it is the sole reason of employment of a Teaching employee, or where research funded work has come to an end due to an absence of funding. In these cases, the employee may be entitled to a redundancy payment provided that they have a minimum of two years continuous service at the College at the date their employment ends.
Individuals who are employed to cover another employee’s absence, and whose contract expires on the return of that individual would be deemed to have been dismissed for ‘some other substantial reason’ and consequently this would not constitute a redundancy. In such cases the termination of a Fixed-Term Contract process should be followed. For details please refer to the Fixed-Term Employment policy.
The College will make every effort to avoid compulsory redundancy and will wherever possible use some or all of the following approaches, at the relevant time, and as appropriate to the situation:
3.1 Where it has been identified that there is a potential redundancy situation, the circumstances must first be discussed with the Human Resources team.
3.2 In most cases (see 3.4 for exceptions) a detailed case will be prepared by the Assistant Dean, Executive Dean or Director of Professional Service Department (or nominee) of the area where the possible redundancies may occur (or other senior member of College Management as appropriate), in liaison with the Director of Human Resources, or their nominee, detailing:
Human Resources will liaise with the relevant Assistant Dean, Executive Dean or Director of Professional Service Department (or nominee) to ensure that the proposal is robust and based on a potential genuine redundancy situation.
3.3 This case will then be sent to the Chair of the HR Strategy and Policy Committee for review, in consultation with the Vice Master. If the case for redundancy is confirmed, the redundancy consultation stage will commence, and this decision will be sent to Governors for information. In circumstances where the proposed possible redundancies are likely to be strategic or large scale, then the case will be considered by Governors in the first instance. For example, where the scale and scope of the proposed redundancies involves the closure of a whole School or Department, rather than specific posts within it.
3.4 In cases where a potential redundancy arises through the withdrawal of a module or programme of study as a result of low student enrolments, it is unlikely that it will be possible to follow the process in full as outlined here by reason of the fact that the situation will not necessarily allow for early identification and such decisions will generally need to be taken at very short notice.
Therefore, in such cases a specific protocol will be followed (as outlined at Appendix II), which follows the spirit and intention of the main policy/process but is modified in recognition of the specific context.
The College will consult with employees and unions as widely as appropriate and possible.
4.1 Collective Consultation
As required by law, where it is proposed that more than 20 employees are to be at risk of redundancy within a 90 day period, the following collective consultative procedure will be followed:
4.2 Individual Consultation
Where it is proposed to make less than 20 employees redundant then there is no requirement to undertake collective consultation. However, individual consultation is essential with all of those employees who are at risk of redundancy. The following points are therefore applicable in all cases, including where collective consultation has taken place:
Appendix 1 to this policy is a flowchart depicting the consultation process.
In situations where it becomes necessary to select individuals for redundancy, the Assistant Dean, Executive Dean or Director of Professional Service Department (or nominee), in liaison with the Director of Human Resources (or nominee), will consider the following:
5.1 Where a single job ceases to exist, the job holder will normally be the redundant employee.
5.2 Where a number of jobs are redundant or where it is proposed to reduce the number of jobs in a situation where several people carry out the same or similar jobs, then the employees whom it is proposed to make redundant will be identified from the appropriate pool by way of a selection process, based on specified criteria.
These criteria will be determined in consultation with the appropriate trade unions (or employee representatives), and could include consideration of work performance, existing skills or aptitudes, disciplinary record etc. The actual criteria used, and the method of applying them, including consideration of the most appropriate parties to be involved in the selection process (e.g. an interview panel), will be appropriate to each situation.
There will be a record of the selection process and outcomes, including a note of the panel members, or parties involved. This will include a brief summary of why each individual was selected and the rationale for it. This briefing will be forwarded to the Chair of the HR Strategy and Policy Committee (see 6. below). An anonymous, summary version of the report will be sent to the trade unions for information.
Where, following consultation and consideration of alternative solutions (or in parallel in cases of urgent action), employees are selected for redundancy, a list of those employees will be prepared by the Assistant Dean, Executive Dean or Director of Professional Service Department (or nominee) in liaison with Human Resources. This list, along with the selection report (see 5.2 above), will be sent to the Chair of the HR Strategy and Policy Committee (or nominee) for review and approval. A copy of the approved list and selection report will be sent to the Governors and the trades unions for information.
Once the Chair of the HR Strategy and Policy Committee (or nominee) has given this approval, the employees will receive a letter from Human Resources, informing them that they are under notice of redundancy. The letter will invite the individual to attend a meeting with the Assistant Dean, Executive Dean or Director of Professional Service Department (or nominee) and Human Resources. The employee will have the right to be accompanied by a Birkbeck trade union representative, or a Birkbeck colleague.
At the meeting, the employee will be informed that they are being made redundant, and the reasons for the redundancy. The employee will have the opportunity to ask questions, clarify their situation and suggest any further options for mitigating their circumstances.
Following the meeting, should the redundancy still stand, a further letter will be sent to the employee confirming the end of their employment and setting out details of any redundancy payment as appropriate. The employee will be notified of their right to appeal against their dismissal.
Employees may be given notice of redundancy at the conclusion of the appropriate consultation period:
Notice periods will be in accordance with the employee’s contract of employment. Notice may be worked and paid as normal, or the College may exercise its right to make a payment in lieu of notice for all or part of the notice period.
7.1 Facilities Arrangements
Subject to prior agreement, employees under notice of redundancy will be allowed reasonable time off, with pay, to:
Where appropriate, outplacement services; C.V. preparation; training; and counselling designed to help find alternative employment will be arranged by the College and will be offered to redundant employees. Those people allocated College equipment may retain it during their contractual notice or until they find alternative employment, if this is sooner. Following this all College equipment must be returned.
Constructive action will be taken to place employees in alternative positions where possible. Line managers will discuss any suitable opportunities with individual employees as appropriate. Individuals will be asked to provide a summary of their knowledge, skills and experience in order to assist in the identification of possible alternative employment.
Advice can be sought from the Human Resources team throughout this process. The line manager will discuss any redeployment opportunities within the School or Department. Human Resources will inform the employee of any other redeployment opportunities across the College.
7.3 Vacancies in relevant areas
Where an employee is informed that they are at risk of redundancy, and he/she meets the essential criteria for a vacant position or could perform the responsibilities of that role, with a reasonable amount of retraining, the post will not be externally advertised and the employee will be offered an interview for the post. The decision on their suitability for the post will rest with the interview panel.
7.4 Current advertisements
Employees who are likely to be made redundant will be made aware of any current vacancies. Where an employee wishes to be considered for a currently advertised vacancy, they should apply for it and notify the Human Resources team of their application. Those employees who meet the essential criteria for a vacant post in Birkbeck, or could do so with a reasonable amount of retraining, will be offered an interview. The decision on their suitability for the post will rest with the interview panel, at its discretion. However, wherever possible and appropriate, priority will be given to those at risk of redundancy if they are suitable for the post.
7.5 Alternative Employment
An employee who is given notice of dismissal due to redundancy has a right of appeal. If an employee wishes to appeal, they should make their case in writing, clearly setting out the grounds for their appeal, to the Director of Human Resources within 21 days of the date of their final notice letter.
The appeal will be heard by a panel appointed by the College Secretary (or nominee) to include a Chair, two panel members from a different Department who have not previously been involved directly in the case, together with a Human Resources representative. Appeals against redundancies within Professional Services Departments would be considered by another senior manager in the College, rather than the College Secretary, who would be appointed by the Vice Master. The employee has the right to be accompanied at this meeting by a Birkbeck trade union representative, or a Birkbeck colleague.
One representative of the Birkbeck trades unions is entitled to attend the appeal meeting in an observer capacity only.
The appeal panel will consider the appeal, and inform the employee in writing of their decision within 21 days of the appeal meeting. This decision is final.
Human Resources will provide details of any redundancy / severance payment due to employees who have been given notice of redundancy or who are considering volunteering for severance where such a scheme is provided by the College.
Employees who are made redundant and who have at least two years’ continuous service are entitled to redundancy pay. Staff aged over 65 of years are entitled to a redundancy payment. Service is based on the number of years of completed continuous service with two weeks for every year of completed service. The maximum weekly pay, for redundancy pay calculation purposes, is capped at four times the statutory weekly maximum (currently £400 from February 2011). The weekly wage cap is therefore £1,600. The weekly cap will be linked to increases in the SRP cap. Basic weekly pay includes actual London Allowance, where applicable. The basic weekly pay covers the gross weekly amount prior to the application of the Pensions Salary Sacrifice arrangement.
All redundancy payments are made within the parameters of Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines. Currently, the first £30k of any payment, excluding payment in lieu of notice, is tax free.
All other normal contractual payments which are taxable will be included in final pay. Any outstanding accrued holiday entitlement, in accordance with the terms of the Annual Leave Arrangements policy, will be paid and will be included in final pay.
Redundant employees who leave before their termination date will not receive any redundancy or severance payments unless authorised by the Director of Human Resources.
All those persons referred to within the scope of this policy are required to adhere to its terms and conditions. Individual managers are responsible for ensuring that this policy is applied within their own area. Any queries on the application or interpretation of this policy must be discussed with the Human Resources team prior to any action being taken.
The Director of Human Resources has responsibility for ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy. Revisions, amendments or alterations to the policy will be agreed in consultation, where applicable, with the Trade Unions and the appropriate HR Strategy and Policy Committee.
|Policy Title||Birkbeck College Redundancy Policy|
|Applicable to||All Employees, except academic staff covered by Statute 28 and Teaching staff in cases of urgent action|
|Date last reviewed||February 2010|
|Policy managed by||Human Resources|
|Approved by Governors||18 March 2010|