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Alternative Work and Trial Periods

Providing Alternative Work & Trial Periods

Where the redundancy of an employee is under consideration, an employer should consider whether alternative employment for the employee in question exists within his organisation. Employers must provide details of all available roles and must not withhold information about potential vacancies on the basis that the employee may not consider them to be suitable.

Suitable Alternative Employment 

If, before the end of employment, an employer offers an employee a comparable job under the previous contract as a result of redundancy, or one which is suitable alternative employment, and the offer takes effect immediately on the termination of the previous contract, unreasonable refusal by the employee to take the alternative job may prevent a claim for statutory redundancy pay.

If suitable alternative work is available, it must be offered to employees on maternity, adoption or additional paternity leave, who would otherwise be made redundant.

Trial Periods 

The employee taking such an alternative position on different terms (wholly or partially) to the original contract is entitled to a statutory trial period of four weeks. If, before or during the trial period, the employer withdraws the alternative job, the employee will be taken as having been dismissed as from the date their original job terminated.

Employers should ensure that, during the trial period, the performance of the employee is carefully monitored to assess their suitability and that discussions take place with the employee to determine whether they wish to continue in the job after the trial period.

Although redundancy is potentially a fair reason for dismissal, failure to follow these and other redundancy procedures can render the dismissal unfair.

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