Writing a Watertight Redundancy Letter

Kate Palmer - HR Advice and Consultancy Director

August 28 2020

Redundancy rules might seem trivial while a pandemic hurtles across the globe.

But employees get the same employment rights throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. So, if you need to reduce your workforce, you must stick to standard redundancy procedures.

This can call for redundancy legal advice.

A crucial part of redundancies is the letters you give staff to update them on the process. UK law states you need to issue a letter at each stage of your procedure, and employers who forget or get their letters wrong risk unfair dismissal claims.

So, when should you write a letter? And how can you protect yourself from strict legal action?

Let me explain.

The rules on redundancy letters

A redundancy letter is a written document that you hand to your employee during a redundancy process.

It needs to explain the latest updates on job losses in your business and warn how the employee’s role might be affected.

You can send your employees as many letters as you like. But there are three main letters you should hand to someone who loses their job:

  • Letter one tells the employee they’re at risk of redundancy.
  • Letter two invites the employee to an individual consultation.
  • Letter three confirms you’ve selected the employee for redundancy.

Let’s take a closer look…

Letter one: at risk of redundancy

Your first letter should explain to the employee that you may have to make redundancies, and that their role is at risk.

You need to give a fair reason, such as the impact of coronavirus on your business. You can’t make someone redundant without a fair business reason. Otherwise, you could face a hefty tribunal claim.

The letter should also give details about how you’re going to try and avoid job losses, and when to expect a consultation.

Letter two: consultation invitation

Your next letter should invite the employee to a consultation at a specific time and date.

It needs to explain the purpose of the meeting, which is usually to tell the employee about the potential job loss and get their input on ways to avoid it.

The letter should also mention how you’ve selected people for possible redundancy (but you can explain this in more detail on the day).

If you offer any support services, such as an employee assistance programme, you should encourage your employee to use them now to help them prepare for the worst.

Letter three: confirmation of redundancy

Your final letter should tell the employee that they’ve been chosen for redundancy and give them notice that their employment is ending.

It needs to include:

  • Their leaving date
  • Whether they need to work their notice
  • Any paid time off they can use
  • How much redundancy pay you owe
  • Any other pay (like holiday pay) they get
  • How they can appeal against the decision

This is an especially tough letter to write. Not just because it makes someone’s job loss official, but because of the legal risks it brings.

Fortunately, there is a way to get an expert to craft watertight redundancy letters for you…

Protect your business today

Rightsize from Peninsula pairs you with an HR consultant who builds a redundancy process that cuts out costly legal errors.

Your expert writes all your paperwork and even consults with your staff to make the process as easy as possible. And as always, you get 24/7 access to HR advice to help you instantly solve urgent issues.

Learn more about how Rightsize helps to keep your business safe during redundancies. To book your free consultation, call 0800 028 2420 today.

Suggested Resources