As of August 1st, the support available to employers through the
Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme gradually starts to taper off.
For some employers, the economic situation looks sufficiently positive to
start preparing for a return to work but, for others, the time when they
must seriously consider redundancies is near at hand. When a whole
workplace is closing, the redundancy selection process is sadly all too
straightforward. But when the employer is faced with the task of selecting
individuals for redundancy from a pool of ‘at risk’ employees, it is
essential for the employer to follow a fair, transparent and consistent
procedure when deciding whom to select from that pool. A redundancy
selection criteria matrix can help employers reach that decision, but how
can they best ensure it is as fair as possible?
Businesses and workplaces vary greatly and so it is difficult to produce a
generic redundancy selection criteria matrix that will work for everyone,
but here are some key points to bear in mind:
1. Choose redundancy selection criteria that are as objective and
measurable as possible. ACAS advises that employers “should base the
standard of work;
skills, qualifications or experience; and
- attendance record, which must be accurate and not include absences relating to disability, pregnancy and maternity."
This list is not exhaustive but, in choosing additional selection criteria,
employers should ensure that these are relevant and appropriate in the
2. Avoid any selection criteria grounds that will be automatically unfair
from an employment law point of view. Automatically unfair reasons for
redundancy selection include:
- an employee's trade union membership or activities;
- health and safety activities;
pregnancy and maternity leave; and
- making a protected disclosure (whistleblowing).
Similarly, employers must be careful to avoid any criteria that place an
individual at a disadvantage because of sex, race, disability, age,
religion or belief, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership
status, pregnancy or maternity or gender.
3. Make sure scoring is carried out by managers (ideally more than one)
with direct knowledge of the employee’s work. Keep written records of the
process and evidence for decisions e.g. performance reviews and attendance
4. Employers should be careful of using selection criteria like ‘attitude’
and ‘flexibility’ that are hard to quantify and therefore more likely to be
5. ‘Performance’ or ‘standard of work’ are reasonable redundancy selection
criteria to use but any assessment should be supported by clear, objective
data. In a sales or manufacturing setting, performance is likely to be
relatively easy to measure but in, say, a business in the service sector
this may be more problematic. Performance reviews or appraisals are helpful
here but only if they are recent and everyone in the redundancy selection
‘pool’ has actually had an appraisal.
6. Avoid ‘Last In, First Out’ (LIFO) as a means of selecting ‘at risk’
employees for redundancy. Under LIFO, employees are selected for redundancy
in the order in which they joined a company, with the most recent joiners
being dismissed first. This is an objective criterion but may be
discriminatory because the most recently employed are generally also the
youngest. If only young people are selected for redundancy, this would lay
the employer open to a claim for age discrimination.
Aside from the risk of discrimination claims, the employees with the
longest service are not necessarily best or most skilled employees.
7. Do not use the fact that an employee has been placed on furlough leave
as a reason to select them for redundancy.
8. Ensure employees in the ‘at risk’ group are provided with their score
and sufficient information to discuss and challenge a rating under the
redundancy selection matrix. Please also view the full list of
to help you manage the redundancy process.
Simply-docs have a range of documents to guide employers through the
redundancy process. A template redundancy selection matrix has been added
to the portfolio of documents, that should be adapted to the employer’s
specific needs and circumstances.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific