The need for an employer to offer alternative employment could arise in various situations. Sometimes it is possible to avoid redundancy dismissals by offering employees suitable alternative work within the organisation. Indeed if a suitable alternative post is available and it is not offered by the employer to an employee selected for redundancy, the employee would be entitled to claim compensation for unfair dismissal. Whether or not the alternative job is suitable will depend on a number of factors including the status, pay and benefits, location, working environment, hours of work etc.
Another circumstance in which alternative employment may be considered is if an employee is no longer able to fulfil part or all of their job requirements due to a change in their own circumstances. An oft-cited example is if someone were to lose their driving licence. In those circumstances, a driving ban would not necessarily mean that you must dismiss the employee, although that could be an option for consideration. As an employer, what you would need to look at is if there are any reasonable alternatives in these cases, including if the employee can carry out their duties without driving; if there is alternative work available; and what you have done previously if this situation has occurred before.
If an employee cannot fulfil their contractual obligations due to a change in their circumstances then then you should always consider if you have any suitable alternative positions, bearing in mind that you do not have to protect their salary so would only have to pay them the appropriate rate for the work they would be doing. Be consistent with what you have done before.
Advice on offering alternative employment is part of our HR Advice service. Contact us for more details.