Where an employer seeks to make redundancies, it’s seen as good practice for the employer to offer voluntary redundancies. It also appeals to an employer as it allows them to say there were no compulsory redundancies.
One question crops up regularly for us – can an employee who wants to go require his or her employer to accept their request for voluntary redundancy? As long as the employer does not apply discriminatory criteria or be swayed by discriminatory views, generally speaking an employer is free to choose who can have voluntary redundancy and who can’t.
On the other hand, if the employer chooses to, say, accept younger employees for voluntary redundancy instead of older employees, for example because older employees attract greater redundancy payments as they have been employed longer, that could well be discriminatory and unlawful.
However, if the employer’s selection is truly non-discriminatory – for example, it’s based on what types of employees need to be retained or the location of the employee’s workplace, there’s no legal means that an employee can apply to compel the employer to accept a request.
If you need advice on redundancy, be it voluntary or compulsory, or a settlement agreement (which is a common means for an employer to finalise an employee’s redundancy) please contact the employment rights team on 033 3344 9603 or email email@example.com.