The University of Bath is a dynamic organisation and is therefore engaged in an ongoing, continuous process of seeking innovation and improvement, which will often result in organisational change. It is essential that the University manages that change in a fair, consistent and effective manner.
From time to time it will need to disestablish posts, and in so doing it will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible as far as is consistent with operational effectiveness. Where it is necessary that such redundancies should occur, it will endeavour to handle them in a manner which is fair, consistent and empathetic, and which minimises any hardship to the individual(s) concerned.
The University wishes to use its resources to achieve maximum effectiveness. This may mean the need for some existing jobs to cease (for example when external funding streams cease), diminish or change. The University will act fairly where such changes prove necessary.
Due to the nature of University funding, and, in particular, research funding, redundancy associated with the expiry of external funding is difficult to avoid. The large number of jobs within the University which are dependent on time-limited research funding makes it necessary to apply a specific process for the termination of fixed term posts, which is set out in the Procedure for the Termination of Fixed Term Appointments. This procedure ensures that the University maximises the opportunities for staff employed on external funding to be re-deployed to other suitable posts within a standardised process.
This policy applies to all staff. The procedures apply to all staff other than those staff who are covered by the provisions of Statute 25, for whom the redundancy procedure set out in that Statute must be followed.
3. Facilitating ongoing change
As part of its ongoing management processes, which will include Staff Development Performance Reviews (SDPRs), other staff development and communication processes, and general forward planning, Heads of Departments and other leaders and managers within the University may seek and be able to mutually agree operational changes with the staff affected which may obviate the necessity for formal redundancy processes to be invoked. Any such changes should be formally agreed and recorded, taking advice from the Department of Human Resources as necessary.
It is an important role for leaders and managers in the University to look ahead with their staff and adapt posts, teams and services in the light of future changes so that they can best deliver the University’s purpose, goals and objectives into the future.
4. Redundancy procedure
4.1 Considering proposed changes
If any proposed business changes look likely to result in reduced staffing levels, or significant changes to duties or terms & conditions, advice should be sought from the Department of Human Resources. Such changes should be carefully considered. The University will inform trades union representatives as early as possible about the proposed changes, the reasons for them and the numbers and jobs potentially affected.
4.2 Avoiding redundancy
In order to avoid compulsory redundancy, maximum advantage will be taken of alternative solutions, which may include:
- natural wastage
- redeployment to other parts of the organisation
- restriction on recruitment where practicable
- ceasing the employment of agency or contract staff where this would liberate permanent employment
- reviewing the use of temporary staff
- ceasing or reducing overtime
- seeking appropriate volunteers for redundancy considering suggestions from trade unions and employees
Where the redundancy is due to the expiry of external funding, the expiry date will be known at the outset. The Department of Human Resources will normally notify the Department, the trades unions and the individual holding the post in advance of the expiry of funds, and will assist the post holder where possible in identifying suitable alternative employment.
4.3 Collective consultation with trades unions
Where proposed changes in response to changes in business or other requirements could result in jobs being designated as redundant, the University will consult with the trades unions as early as possible to allow feedback and comments on the proposals.
Where there are specified numbers, the appropriate statutory consultation periods will be observed as set out below:
- where between 20 and 99 redundancy dismissals are proposed within a 90 day period: 30 days before the first dismissal takes place
- where over 100 redundancy dismissals are proposed within a 90 day period: 45 days before the first dismissal takes place
Please note that the terminations of fixed term contracts are excluded from the collective consultation requirements and therefore should be excluded from these numbers.
These periods of consultation will commence from the time that the trades unions have been provided in writing with the following information:
- reasons for the proposed redundancies
- numbers and descriptions of employees occupying posts at risk
- criteria for selecting employees for redundancy
- timescale for dismissals
- method of calculating redundancy payments to affected staff
4.4 Individual consultation with affected staff
Employees occupying a post at risk will be advised in writing as soon as possible, and will be seen individually by their manager and normally a Human Resources Business Partner.
The purpose of the meeting will be to explain:
- the proposed changes in staffing and the reasons for them
- the proposed timetable
- the policy and how it will be implemented
- and to seek
- the views of the employee with respect any practical means of mitigating or avoiding the redundancy, and with regard to future employment, retraining or redeployment
A consultation period with the employee of not less than one week will take place with affected staff.
4.5 Notification to the Insolvency Service
The University is required by law to inform the Insolvency Service if it is proposing to make more than 20 employees redundant at any site within a 90 day period. This must be completed at least 30 days in advance of the first dismissal and at least 45 days in advance for 100 or more employees. As confirmed under 4.3, the terminations of fixed term contracts are excluded from these numbers. The Department of Human Resources will undertake the necessary notifications.
4.6 Selection for redundancy
The University is committed to ensuring fair treatment in the selection for redundancy. Where selection for redundancy is required, the University will consult with the relevant recognised trade unions on the method of selection as part of its collective consultation (see section 4.3).
4.6.1 Volunteers for redundancy
The University retains absolute discretion in whether to request volunteers for redundancy and whether or not to accept any volunteer for redundancy. Where it is agreed that a request is to be made, volunteers may be sought initially from within the business area affected. Where exceptionally agreed, this could be extended to beyond the business area if there is a realistic opportunity of transferable skills resulting in reduced redundancies in the business area affected.
4.6.2 Method of selection
In selecting employees for redundancy any of the following criteria may be applied; the list is not exhaustive:
- skill, competence and experience: employees who lack the skills, competency and/or experience against those required for the post, or whose skills and/or experience are less developed than others in the pool.
- performance and conduct at work: for example employees whose personnel/HR records contain evidence of an un-expired warning under the disciplinary, capability or sickness policies and procedures. For sickness absence only absence not related to a confirmed underlying health condition may be considered.
Alternatively where there is a restructuring − for example of roles within a team or area, the University may identify as ‘at risk’ all staff in the old posts and select which of these at-risk staff are slotted into the available new posts in the new structure by a process of ring-fenced competitive interviews or assessment against the person specification criteria of the new posts. Those staff who are unsuccessful from this ring-fenced process who do not slot into the available new posts, will remain at risk of redundancy and will move onto the processes under 4.8 and the Redeployment Procedure.
Where the redundancy is due to the expiry of external funding, other than in exceptional circumstances, the selection of staff to be placed at risk of redundancy will be determined by their holding of a post which is established by the expiring funding. Efforts will be made to redeploy individuals in line with the Redeployment Procedure. A staged dismissal procedure will be followed:
- the employee will be informed in writing of the proposed redundancy and the reasons
- the employee will be invited to a consultation meeting to discuss the redundancy and redeployment opportunities
- the employee will be informed of their right to appeal against the redundancy
Employees have the right to be accompanied by a work companion, who may be a fellow employee in the University, a locally accredited trade union representative, or an accredited official employed by a trade union. A trade union representative who is not an employed official must have been certified by their union as being competent to accompany a worker.
4.8 Notice of redundancy
Employees selected for redundancy will be informed in writing and given notice of their dismissal due to redundancy. As a minimum this will be the notice period to which they are contractually entitled.
4.9 Redundancy payments
Statutory redundancy compensation payments will be made to eligible staff; please see information on our redundancy pay. Employees who are dismissed on grounds of redundancy will be given the period of notice, or payment in lieu of notice, to which they are entitled under statutory legislation or their contracts of employment. Please note that from 6 April 2018 payments in lieu of notice will be taxed as earnings and subject to the deduction of income tax and national insurance contributions. Staff will be entitled to payment in lieu for any leave entitlement which is untaken at the date of termination of the appointment; the calculation of entitlement will be based upon the proportion of the leave year at the date of termination of the appointment.
5. Redeployment procedure
5.1 Suitable alternative employment
The University will do all that is reasonably practicable to redeploy staff at risk to suitable alternative employment. Employees at risk of redundancy are expected to play an active role in identifying suitable alternative posts, for example, entering their details, experience etc. into the University's Redeployment Register through the ‘Jobs at Bath’ website/e-recruitment system, making themselves aware of vacancies placed on this system, and applying for vacancies as appropriate through the system. Where employees are prepared to accept a lower graded post, or are prepared to accept part time employment, they should inform their Human Resources Business Partner or Advisor at an early stage. Employees at risk of redundancy have priority status for available posts at the same grade or one grade below within the University and will be considered in accordance with the Redeployment Process set out in section 5.3 (and 5.2 for employees on maternity leave). They may also apply for other posts such as at a higher grade through the University’s e-recruitment system but without any priority status.
5.2 Employees on Maternity or Paternity Leave
Employees on maternity or paternity leave have an express statutory right to any suitable alternative employment that exists, ahead of any other employee including at-risk employees. Thus, a woman on maternity leave or a man on paternity leave has first call on a suitable alternative position. For example, if the University has one vacancy which would be suitable for three staff at risk of redundancy, one of whom is on maternity or paternity leave, the employee on maternity or paternity leave should be considered prior to the two other candidates and if they meet the essential criteria must be offered the alternative position, whether or not they would otherwise be the preferred candidate. If the employee accepts the suitable alternative role, it must be kept open until they return from maternity/paternity leave.
5.3 Redeployment process
The University will place employees who are who are under notice of or (where requested by the staff member concerned) ‘at risk’ of redundancy on the University’s Redeployment Register until their notice period expires and their employment is terminated.
Employees on the Redeployment Register will be given preferential consideration in respect of agreed vacant posts within the University. This means that unless the vacancy is at a higher grade than their existing post (when normal advertising and selection arrangements would apply), Departments must interview employees at risk of redundancy before any other candidates, provided the application arrives by the advertised closing date and the applicant is able to meet the essential criteria for shortlisting for the post. This should happen before any other (non-Redeployment Register) candidates are invited for interview. If the interview confirms that the candidate meets all the essential criteria for the post, or could do so with reasonable retraining, they should be offered the post on a trial basis (see 5.6).
Once a post has been approved for recruitment, employees who are under notice of or ‘at risk’ of redundancy (“at risk employee”) and are set up on the University’s Redeployment Register and for whom the post might constitute suitable alternative employment will be able to view and apply for it on a priority basis through the University website/e-recruitment system. Where they confirm that that they wish to be considered, they will be assessed against the essential criteria (as set out within the person specification) for the post. Normally this assessment process will include an interview and a Human Resources Business Partner or Advisor may attend the interview. If the at risk employee meets (or best meets if there is more than one at risk employee being considered) those criteria, they will be appointed to the post subject to a trial period (as per 5.6). In the event that the assessment panel concludes that an individual is not suitable, the Chair of the panel would be required to provide the objectively justifiable reasons for reaching that decision.
It is the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources to advise on the suitability or otherwise of candidates for redeployment. Departments have a requirement to follow advice provided by the Department of Human Resources in these matters.
Should the selection panel decide for any reason not to offer a vacancy to a candidate in the above categories, full records must be kept and the panel must be able to show that the reason for its decision was clearly based on a comparison of a candidate’s skills, abilities and experience with those required for the post.
When an at-risk employee is redeployed to a lower-graded redeployment post (one-grade below their current grade), they may request to remain on the Redeployment Register for a period of six months as confirmed to the employee.
5.4 Refusal to accept a suitable alternative post
If an employee refuses an offer of suitable alternative employment and in the University’s view the refusal is unreasonable, the right to redundancy payment will be forfeited.
5.5 Pay protection
Employees who are redeployed to a post one grade lower than the post from which they have been made redundant will be entitled to pay protection on a mark-time basis for a period of 12 months, which will commence on the date on which they are transferred to the new post. During this time they will not be entitled to cost-of-living awards or incremental progression. After the end of that period, they will normally transfer to the non-contributory point scale maximum of the lower grade, and become eligible for cost of living increases and contribution pay in the lower grade. Staff who are redeployed to a post more than one grade lower than the post from which they have been made redundant will not be entitled to pay protection.
5.6 Trial periods
Employees at risk of redundancy who accept the offer of suitable alternative employment are entitled to a trial period of four weeks. The duration of the trial will be confirmed and notified to the employee before the trial commences. The trial period will give both employee and the University an opportunity to assess whether the new job is suitable, including the assessment of reasonable training where agreed. If following the completion of the trail period, an alternative post is deemed not suitable by the University or the employee, the employee would be entitled to receive a redundancy payment. The trial period will run concurrently with the notice period where notice has been given.
5.7 Time off to seek alternative employment
Employees under notice of redundancy or at risk of redundancy and on the University’s Redeployment Register are entitled to reasonable time off to look for alternative employment or to arrange training.
5.8 Early release of redundant employees
Employees under notice of redundancy who obtain employment with a different employer may ask to leave early. The University will not unreasonably refuse such a request and a mutually agreed date will be established. The date will become the revised date of redundancy for the purposes of calculating any entitlement to a redundancy payment and for establishing the employee’s effective date of termination. There will be no entitlement to payment for the remainder of the original notice period.
6. Appeal procedure
Employees who consider that the selection criteria have been unfairly applied to them and that they have been unfairly made redundant have the right of appeal.
Staff wishing to appeal under this section should write within 10 working days of the receipt of the letter giving notice of their termination of employment to the Director of Human Resources, stating the reasons for their appeal. This appeal process should be followed rather than using the Grievance policy and procedure.
The redundancy notice will not be suspended during the appeal, but will be revoked or amended if the employee is successful. The appeal will be heard by a panel of three members chaired by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Vice-President or Chief Operating Officer advised by the Director of Human Resources or their deputy.
Date of last review: July 2017 (Minor agreed change 3 December 2020 − JUCNC re appeal chairs)