Suitable Alternative Employment

  • Redundancy
Alternative Employment
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Alternative employment is a job position offered to employees who would have otherwise been made redundant. Employees are offered different role within a company. The aim is to offer reassignment to employees rather than face potential unemployment.

Businesses are forever evolving within their working sphere. They all strive to produce the best workforce conceivable. Employers regularly hold departmental restructures and adjustments - all to enhance business progression.

But when restructure affects an employee’s job, alternative employment must be considered before facing redundancy.

We’ll discuss offering alternative employment in redundancy, and the reason for seeking alternative additional employment.

What makes an alternative employment ‘suitable’? 

Employers will already recognise which job positions class as suitable alternative employment. Eligible employees are offered these roles based on relative talents and suitability.

Eligible employees can be considered based on:

  • Relevant work experience, skills, and expertise
  • Previous position held within the business hierarchy
  • Acceptance for changes in salary, working hours, and entitlements
  • Training needed for new skills and responsibilities

Who is entitled to alternative employment?

Anyone being made redundant should have an alternative role considered as good practice. If they have worked for you for two years this is especially important as failure could result in a successful unfair dismissal claim.

Anyone who is on maternity leave is automatically entitled to be offered an alternative role if one is available.

Before the employee’s current employment ends, the alternative role should be proposed.

Does an employer have to offer suitable alternative employment?

Redundancy alternative Should be considered, unless the employee is on maternity leave, then they should be offered suitable jobs if they are available during restructures. Employers should recommend vacancies for employees who match job expectations.

If there are negating factors, offer employees trials and interviews for suitable alternative employment. Failure to offer suitable alternative employment can hold you liable. 

There’s a possibility that some employees may rebuke ‘unjust’ decisions. They may believe they were dismissed with negligence. Or unfairly made redundant and offered alternative employment.

Employers should sustain a moral standard for welfare of its workforce during redundancies period and employment hearings.

How do I offer alternative employment to my employees?


Employers should consider alternatives methods to redundancy. Recommendations for suitable alternative roles should be made available. 

Here’s an outline to remember when offering alternative employment:

  • Provide a written employment offer. This stands as physical evidence that you have provided alternative employment.
  • Relay all relevant information regarding the new role, so the employee can fully consider whether to accept.
  • Display the differences between their current and new job.

It’s important to follow the correct procedure for alternative employment. Remember that employees have a right to refuse alternative employment. Even after refusal, they are still entitled to statutory redundancy payments.

It’s possible that an employee may not be interested in accepting suitable alternative employment pay protection offered. However, it’s imperative that employers still consider alternative roles. This displays that you have acted reasonably during the redundancy procedure.

Probationary Periods

Employees who accept alternative employment have the right to a probationary period. Probationary periods comprise a four-week trial period within the new role. They normally offer this if there are apparent differences between the current and new job roles.

If further training is required, extension periods can be proposed. All start/end and training dates should be clearly documented and agreed upon prior to the probation.

At the end of the probationary period, both the employer and employee should discuss the suitability for the new role. If employees aren't suitable, clearly inform them in writing regarding your decision and reasons.

Employees who refuse suitable alternative role

Some employees may choose to face redundancy, rather than accept alternative employment. They could face an array of reasons, like travel restrictions, disruption to family life, or health issues. They may also refuse based on a significant decrease in salary, being overqualified, or demotions. Employees must express in writing the grounds for refusing suitable alternative employment offered.

Employees might express their claim to an employment tribunal to defend a reasonable refusal of alternative employment. Through employment tribunal or ACAS, redundancy and suitable alternative employment that are deemed unfair are deliberated. Here, employers must show clear logic for their decisions, and explain why the employee’s refusal is unreasonable.

Whilst employees have a right to express refusal, they are still entitled to SRP (statutory redundancy payment). However, if an employee cannot provide sufficient reasons for refusal, a dismissal without SRP could be considered.

Some employees may choose to be made redundant in the end. Give workers a reasonable amount of time to seek replacement jobs. This should especially be applied to employees who have worked for two years continuously within the business.

Ensure that all employees are given a reasonable length of time to consider whether to accept alternative employment offers.

Get expert advice on alternative employment with Peninsula

You should consider all possible outcomes when offering suitable alternative employment. 

It’s important to support your employees through business restructures and redundancy periods. Strive for employees’ welfare and wellbeing, whilst minimising business disruptions.

Our team of employment specialists at Peninsula can help you with advice on alternative employment and recruitment procedures.

Peninsula clients get access to 24/7 HR to consult our specialists on or secure air-tight contracts with our document experts. And if you’re not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from our experts. Simply call us on 0800 028 2420.

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