Reorganisation and Restructuring
In order for businesses to develop they will invariably need to change the way in which they operate from time to time.
Changing the way in which a business operates goes hand in hand with legal obstacles, such as lawfully changing working patterns, terms and conditions of employment and in some cases redundancy. Where a business is involved in acquisitions, outsourcing, or bringing services in-house, legal advice will also be required in respect of TUPE and the various legally challenges that may present.
If your business is planning a restructure, it is important to proactively take legal advice so that the transition can run smoothly and any potential issues are ironed out before they become a costly problem.
A redundancy situation arises when there is a reduction in the need for work of a particular kind in the place where an employee works.
Redundancy can arise due to budgetary constraints, reduced workflow, office closures or outsourcing.
Fair process is at the core of the law around redundancy. Where an employer is considering dismissing 20 or more employees by reason of redundancy, statutory consultation obligations are triggered and a failure to adhere to those obligations can create a huge financial risk in terms of protective awards and claims for unfair dismissal.
In all redundancy cases the employer needs to ensure that these following issues are covered:
- Is it a genuine redundancy situation?
- Have we undertaken a fair consultation with the affected employees?
- What is the correct pool of affected employees?
- What criteria should be used to choose who is selected for redundancy?
- Is there any suitable alternative employment?
- What are the employees’ rights in respect of contractual or statutory redundancy, notice and holiday pay?
The early intervention of experts can ensure that a fair process is followed and that any other areas of risk, such as the effect of TUPE are identified and resolved at an early stage.
We are acutely aware of the sensitivities around redundancies and the need to cause minimum disruption. Our commercially savvy experts can help at the outset of any process in identifying ways of minimising the disruption that can often accompany a redundancy process delivering cost-effective solutions.
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 serves to protect worker’s rights when there is a business transfer or a service provision change.
If your business is considering taking over another business or is involved in outsourcing in anyway then you will need advice on whether or not TUPE applies, and if so, what your obligations and liabilities are.
Where TUPE does apply there are certain obligations placed on the employer and the organisation to which the workers are transferring to inform and consult affected employees about the social, legal and economic consequences of the transfer.
A failure to inform and consult can lead to each and every affected employee being awarded up to 13 weeks’ pay by way of a protective award.
Whether or not TUPE applies to an acquisition or a business transfer is a matter of law and is often a factually and legally complex matter. Companies involved in transfers can risk becoming embroiled in lengthy and expensive disputes over the application of TUPE, both with the affected employees and also with the other organisations involved.
Our commercial employment team can provide specialist advice on whether or not TUPE is likely to apply to a given situation, what steps need to be taken to ensure compliance with the TUPE legislation and, where TUPE is disputed, the potential liability for any perspective cases.
We can also advise on the commercial terms as