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Redeployment policy and procedure

1.0 POLICY STATEMENT

Birkbeck recognises the importance of recruiting, developing and retaining high-quality staff wherever possible and the benefits of continuity for effective service provision. The College is committed to retaining the valuable skills, knowledge and experience of existing staff, where this is practicable. This policy aims to ensure a fair and consistent approach to the management of redeployment.

Redeployment is defined as the offer and transfer of an eligible employee to a suitable alternative job within the College. It is used when an employee has lost their job and will be considered for redeployment to a suitable alternative role elsewhere in the College.  

1.1 ELIGIBILITY FOR REDEPLOYMENT

The College will seek to actively redeploy staff who are:

  • at risk of redundancy and have at least two years’ continuous service at the date on which employment is expected to terminate
  • unable to continue within their job, for example, due to a disability; for health reasons; or due to capability
  • employed on a fixed-term contract of at least two years’ that is due to end, for example, due to the removal of funding or to completion of a project or piece of work.

The College will endeavour to redeploy staff into suitable alternative jobs normally on the same grade and same terms and conditions, including spine point, where this is practicable. Staff who wish to be considered for alternative jobs which are not deemed suitable alternative employment, for example, those at a higher grade, will normally need to apply for these through a competitive recruitment process.

1.2 SCOPE

This policy applies to all staff groups. 

1.3 ALTERNATIVE WORK

There are two possible types of alternative employment which could apply to eligible redeployees and these are explained in 1.3.1 and 1.3.2. Where appropriate any redeployment decision must be compliant with rules set by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

1.3.1 Suitable alternative employment

Suitable alternative employment is generally defined as the offer of a post which is the same or broadly similar to the post which is currently held by the employee, which the employee can be reasonably expected to do. The identification of suitable alternative employment consists of matching the employee to a 'suitable' vacant post. The following criteria will be used to determine whether the work is suitable:  

  • the nature of the work of the employee’s current/previous job
  • the terms and conditions of the post being offered, such as, the type of work, job content, pay and grade (including benefits), working hours, location and status
  • the skills, knowledge, abilities, qualifications and experience required to undertake the work.

A post may still be suitable alternative employment if a reasonable period of training is required. Reasonable requests for training or retraining will be considered for staff where necessary to support redeployment into a suitable post. 

Staff who are placed at risk of redundancy and then their redundancy notice is withdrawn will no longer be eligible for redeployment. An example could be that they have been appointed on a fixed-term contract due to a research grant and the grant coming to an end is the reason for them being at risk of redundancy. If subsequently the research grant is extended, along with the individual’s fixed-term contract, they will no longer be considered at risk of redundancy and therefore no longer eligible for redeployment (see Redundancy policy for more information).

If an employee refuses an offer of reasonable alternative employment, they may lose entitlement to redundancy pay. An example of reasonable alternative employment is normally when an employee is offered a position on similar terms and conditions and status and are deemed to have the relevant skills and experience to perform the role.

1.3.2 Alternative employment

Alternative employment is defined as the offer of a post which differs significantly to the role in which the employee is currently employed, as determined by matching the employee’s current role to the alternative post. For example, the alternative post may be at a higher or lower grade or lower status to the current post, with different terms and conditions. If an employee successfully secures an alternative post it may be offered with a trial period for suitability to be determined. If an employee refuses an offer of alternative employment they would not normally lose any entitlement to redundancy pay. 

1.4  EMPLOYEES ON MATERNITY, ADOPTION OR SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE

If during an employee’s maternity, adoption or shared parental leave their post becomes redundant, they will be offered suitable alternative employment where there is a suitable available vacancy. This may give them priority over other potential redundant employees.

2.0 REDEPLOYMENT PROCEDURE  

The Redeployment Procedure aims to ensure a fair and consistent approach is applied to the process of successfully redeploying staff. To support the procedure, a Redeployment Register, which is managed by Human Resources (HR), provides a centralised resource to retain existing employees.

Details of staff the College is seeking to redeploy will be held on the Redeployment Register. All vacancies will be published on the HR Connect site and redeployees are encouraged to register for job alerts on the Birkbeck recruitment portal. Staff will remain on the register and be considered for suitable opportunities until the end of their employment contract.

Redeployees will normally be considered before any internal or external applicants are called for interview. 

The recruiting manager will consider any applications received against the job description and person specification and if it is felt that the job may be a suitable match, an interview will be offered to the employee. The recruiting manager will provide feedback to all applicants on their application. If it is felt that some training or retraining is needed, the recruiting manager will arrange this.   

2.1 TRIAL PERIODS

Where the College offers an employee a new job, before the end of their previous employment contract, the employee is entitled to a statutory trial period of four weeks to decide whether to accept the alternative employment. The purpose of the trial period is for both the College and the employee to establish whether the new job is suitable. The trial period will begin on the start date of the employee in the alternative post. In some cases, for example, where a period of retraining is agreed, the trial period may be extended by mutual agreement for a further limited period of time.

Before the trial period begins, the line manager should set out clear and reasonable expectations to be met by the employee and the training/support to be provided during the trial period. Both parties are expected to make every effort for the trial period to be successful. During the trial period, the manager and employee should regularly review progress and discuss and identify any additional training/support to facilitate a successful outcome.

A review will be held by the line manager prior to the end of the trial period. If this is successful, the employee will be confirmed in post and written confirmation will be provided of the terms and conditions that apply to the appointment.

However, if there are reasonable concerns about suitability, the trial period may be ended by the manager or the employee subject to submitting a written request outlining the reasons for this.

If the trial period is unsuccessful, the trial period will be ended. The member of staff will continue, during the remainder of their notice period, to be considered for other suitable alternative employment where available and remain on the Redeployment Register until their date of termination of employment. 

2.2 REDUNDANCY - REDEPLOYMENT INTO FIXED-TERM POSTS

In cases of redundancy where the employee is redeployed into a fixed-term post, the employee will have redundancy rights at the expiry of that contract, unless there is another reason for dismissal. The College will actively seek to redeploy the employee, subject to the eligibility for redeployment criteria (section 1.1).

2.3 PAY PROTECTION

If a redeployee accepts a job that is one grade or lower than their current/previous role, their salary at the date of redeployment, excluding allowances, will be protected for one year. The protected pay element of the salary will be paid as an allowance. After the pay protection period ends, the redeployee’s salary will remain on the top (non-discretionary) spine point of the grade of the new job. Pay protection will commence from the start date of the new role.

2.4 Support for employees

Line managers (wit support from HR where appropriate) are responsible for ensuring that staff are supported through a potential redundancy/redeployment situation.

Companions at meetings

Employees have the right to be accompanied to redundancy consultation meetings by a Trade Union official or a Birkbeck work colleague. Companions may assist staff in stating their case but may not answer instead of the employee. The right to a companion does not extend to job interviews held as part of the redeployment process. 

Time off

Staff who are eligible for redeployment will be given reasonable time off to seek other employment, attend interviews or undertake training. 

Counselling

It is acknowledged that this can be a difficult and stressful situation for staff and the College provides support for staff through its Employee Assistance Programme.

3.0 FURTHER SUPPORT 

Managers and employees are encouraged to seek further clarification and advice on the policy, including information on the Redeployment Register, from HR. The College’s recognised Trade Unions are also available to provide support to their members.

4.0 RESPONSIBILITIES

The following groups have direct responsibilities under this policy.

EMPLOYEES

  • Take active steps to seek alternative work within the College.
  • Consider vacant positions and apply without undue delay.

LINE MANAGERS

  • Work collaboratively and supportively with affected employees throughout the redeployment process.
  • Provide management support and guidance to staff, including allowing time off for training and reasonable time off to undertake redeployment activities (see Section 2.4).

RECRUITING MANAGERS

  • Give priority consideration to applications from staff who are subject to redeployment ahead of external applicants. 
  • Provide feedback to HR and the employee on the outcome of the application and/or interview. 

HUMAN RESOURCES

  • Provide advice and support to managers and staff throughout the process.
  • Manage the redeployment register.

Approval provided: HRSPC

Policy author: Head of HR Strategy, Policy, Equalities and Diversity

Review date: November 2024

Related policiesRedundancy policyFixed-term contract policy and Sickness absence policy.