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ThistleWhistle

Furlough / Redundancy advice

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Arate 

Quick query please and was wandering if anyone from a HR background could help with.  Mrs works in hotel on zero hour contract and got email this morning that her furlough is finishing 1st August.  They've confirmed that they'll pay holidays like they've been taken for the four months of furlough (IE: 33% of her allocation) as they don't want people expecting to have full holiday entitlement when they return plus this will be phased over coming months to aid cash-flow.  Fairly positive in the way it is worded around her still being employed there and it is obvious from the wording they're taking staff off furlough on a phased basis although it is caveated that my wife can't expect the same hours as before until things recover (32-35 a week average).   On asking if the furlough will be 'flexible' been told it isn't and her pay would just be the hours worked which got the spider senses tingling.    

My query is - say this goes mammary glands skyward how would redundancy work?  She has 10 years continuous service and I think is defo defined as an 'employee' rather than 'worker' because she got statutory maternity pay.  Could they though just offer her zero hours indefinitely or would their be a specific period before they'd have to treat her as being made redundant?

Cheers in advance 

    

Edited by ThistleWhistle

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Generally speaking, a call either to ACAS or her union is a good starting point. She should have the equivalent redundancy rights as anyone in terms of entitlement to pay, albeit with some added complexity calculating it. I'd have thought (I'm not an HR specialist but worked in fairly senior jobs in my time where we had to make redundancies...plus have been made redundant myself a couple of times) that they'd not be overly fussed at getting rid of anyone on ZHC for the simple reason that they can make the savings as you suggest by simply not offering work & saving a wad of redundancy cash.

Is it just a single hotel or part of a bigger chain? Most employers of any size follow what they call the Bradford system, which is basically just a way of offloading what they see as people with problematic sickness or disciplinary records, usually followed by offering VR. It's always a bit tricky to say how any one company will precisely do it, but they all have to follow some general principles in law, hence getting formal advice is always a good place to start

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1 hour ago, Huddersfield said:

Generally speaking, a call either to ACAS or her union is a good starting point. She should have the equivalent redundancy rights as anyone in terms of entitlement to pay, albeit with some added complexity calculating it. I'd have thought (I'm not an HR specialist but worked in fairly senior jobs in my time where we had to make redundancies...plus have been made redundant myself a couple of times) that they'd not be overly fussed at getting rid of anyone on ZHC for the simple reason that they can make the savings as you suggest by simply not offering work & saving a wad of redundancy cash.

Is it just a single hotel or part of a bigger chain? Most employers of any size follow what they call the Bradford system, which is basically just a way of offloading what they see as people with problematic sickness or disciplinary records, usually followed by offering VR. It's always a bit tricky to say how any one company will precisely do it, but they all have to follow some general principles in law, hence getting formal advice is always a good place to start

Cheers mate - its a decent sized chain and they have been good to her really plus she's always been reliable/ flexible and never off sick so she's probably nearer the top of folk they want to keep.  Their cashflow is no doubt shot to shit though so they'll probably have enough on their hands with the salary folk.  

The jobs handy for wee lass school too and we're lucky enough she could get zero hours for a few months without needing to go on to beans on toast.  I'll speak to the union though or ACAS thanks because want to find out if there was anything stopping them from giving her no hours for the first month or two for example or if that could be used as a trigger for her to claim redundancy.  Even then that's to just understand really if they would chuck a couple of hours her way to save her claiming redundancy or if they can just give her no hours for as long as they want.   

 

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On 6/16/2020 at 7:39 AM, Huddersfield said:

Generally speaking, a call either to ACAS or her union is a good starting point. She should have the equivalent redundancy rights as anyone in terms of entitlement to pay, albeit with some added complexity calculating it. I'd have thought (I'm not an HR specialist but worked in fairly senior jobs in my time where we had to make redundancies...plus have been made redundant myself a couple of times) that they'd not be overly fussed at getting rid of anyone on ZHC for the simple reason that they can make the savings as you suggest by simply not offering work & saving a wad of redundancy cash.

Is it just a single hotel or part of a bigger chain? Most employers of any size follow what they call the Bradford system, which is basically just a way of offloading what they see as people with problematic sickness or disciplinary records, usually followed by offering VR. It's always a bit tricky to say how any one company will precisely do it, but they all have to follow some general principles in law, hence getting formal advice is always a good place to start

The bradford system is utter dung man, my old work used it.

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1 hour ago, Kirk said:

The bradford system is utter dung man, my old work used it.

Pretty much everywhere uses it - it was the system I was trained in & I don't totally disagree. There's lots of ways to work it though. There's an in-built discrimination in there towards people with long-term health problems & also it can be used against whistleblowers if they've ended up on disciplinaries. All complicated really, but used theoretically correctly, the people who come top of the redundancy pile "should" be the ones who cause the biggest headaches in the workplace.

Obviously I'm not saying everywhere uses it properly though, but nowadays companies who don't use it, or something pretty similar, are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a flurry of tribunals.

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10 hours ago, Huddersfield said:

Pretty much everywhere uses it - it was the system I was trained in & I don't totally disagree. There's lots of ways to work it though. There's an in-built discrimination in there towards people with long-term health problems & also it can be used against whistleblowers if they've ended up on disciplinaries. All complicated really, but used theoretically correctly, the people who come top of the redundancy pile "should" be the ones who cause the biggest headaches in the workplace.

Obviously I'm not saying everywhere uses it properly though, but nowadays companies who don't use it, or something pretty similar, are likely to find themselves on the wrong end of a flurry of tribunals.

Yeah I get the way it should be used and the theory behind it but as you say it doesn't always work fairly. My old work were bawbags though haha

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27 minutes ago, Kirk said:

Yeah I get the way it should be used and the theory behind it but as you say it doesn't always work fairly. My old work were bawbags though haha

I think that's the bottom line really...I won't lie to you, whenever I had to do a redundancy process, I'd pretty much look around at the start of it all & ask myself who were the most useless people in the room. Sometimes (probably most of the time) they'd also be the ones taking off days here & there & might have disciplinaries against them. But in some cases there were people who would turn up faithfully & do sod all, so they would be low scorers on Bradford. Where I worked we added other questions in to at least try & find the fairest outcome we could, given that taking anyone's livelihood away is a shitty thing to have to do. But you're right, a crap employer will use the best of systems in a crap way.

Karma is what it is though...when I got hit by a redundancy process, someone obviously looked at me & decided I was the most useless :D

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I used a similar system. One of the scores was ‘performance review’, which was open to interpretation. Also attendance record, disciplinaries, length of service etc. I survived a redundancy process myself about 5 years ago. The fact that I realised I was disappointed to be staying made my mind up about leaving for a career change 😂. Got lucky the following year when voluntary redundancy became one of the options.

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That was me told only Thursday I'm they're closing the office and I'm being made redundant.  Joined as a 19 year old 24 years ago.  The business has been going for around 40 years and in Glasgow for around 30.  They've taken the decision , "due to Covid", to merge our business with our sister down south despite the fact we've (standalone) made £18M profit in the last 2 year and other loss making businesses are all remaining untouched.  The saddest thing is (apart from 200+ people losing their jobs) is that the brand is being done away with completely when it's a still a strong, well respected brand in the industry.  The Covid bit is an absolute smokescreen and it's being used as en excuse to fast track something they've been keen to do for years but never been able to due to the way the business was performing.  It really is sickening.

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Very sorry to hear that Fairbairn. That is horrible. Using Covid as an opportunistic excuse for it is unbelievably vile but what kind of cold hearted cunt can cynically put that amount of folk out of work during a pandemic... mind bending. Hope you find something else quickly. Long term it might be for the best as they were obviously ratbags if this is what they are doing now. Shocking.

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Fairbairn I can only reiterate what thplinth has said. 
Everyone is aware of the consequences of Covid 19 on job losses,  but , like the virus itself, it  really only hits home when you hear of someone directly affected by it. 
The fact they are closing a profitable part of the company at a time like this when other sections are losing money beggars belief. 
Sadly I think there will be many companies using Covid as an excuse to make unnecessary cuts. 
Were the union involved? Not that it makes much of a difference , unions have such little power these days.

Without giving too much personal information away, are your skills transferable to a different industry or service  if need be ? 

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Thanks folks. No Union involved and we’re just about to start they consultation process so there could be counter proposals put forward but I highly doubt it. Just need to make sure we make as much noise and as difficult as possible for them during the process. 
 

I’m lucky enough to be in a better position than most as my length of service will get me a decent pay off and combined with some other insurances I can actually probably take close to a year off on the same pay. My skills are also transferable so (at the moment) I’m not too worried about my future. I do feel heart sorry for the people in the business at the bottom of the ladder on barely more than minimum wage and absolutely no prospects of getting a similar job. We are by far the biggest at what we do in Scotland and it’s usually us hoovering you staff from elsewhere when businesses fail. 
 

I wouldn’t  have as much of an issue with it if the business was failing or even if it was just my role as they were synergising across sites but there is no justifiable reason for closing Glasgow other than it being a pain in the arse for people to have to travel up here periodically! 

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I am glad to hear you have a bit of a cushion if you dont pick up something immediately, or which may allow you to take your time looking for the right job. 

Still , no one likes losing their job unless they absolutely hate it or are at an age where they can comfortably retire. It says a lot about you that your concerns are for those less fortunate.
All you can do , as you have said, is make it more difficult for the company and let them see you are not meekly accepting the decision. Your  company’s  loss will be your next employers gain. 

Good luck. 

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Sorry to hear about the redundancy. I remember when it happened to me - I was having to remortgage, worried if I'd even keep the house, felt down in the dumps & very scared. You might be different, but for me, the financial bits resolved long before the psychological. Everyone kept saying that something would turn up & to look on the positive side, new beginning, etc. I remember just wanting to punch their lights out! Having your job taken away against your will is a big loss to most people.

All you can do is fight for what you can get & then hopefully find the time to work everything out. Look after yourself & best of luck with everything.

 

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4 hours ago, Huddersfield said:

Sorry to hear about the redundancy. I remember when it happened to me - I was having to remortgage, worried if I'd even keep the house, felt down in the dumps & very scared. You might be different, but for me, the financial bits resolved long before the psychological. Everyone kept saying that something would turn up & to look on the positive side, new beginning, etc. I remember just wanting to punch their lights out! Having your job taken away against your will is a big loss to most people.

All you can do is fight for what you can get & then hopefully find the time to work everything out. Look after yourself & best of luck with everything.

 

As I'll be there until around February and will then have a bit of redundancy (not much!) then any financial worries seem like a long way away.  I've always been a bit of a "I'll worry about that tomorrow" kind of guy (and then shit myself when it comes around!).  Having worked there for 24 years it's the thought of never being back in the office, probably never seeing a lot of people again, going for job interviews and (this is the main one!) being the new boy somewhere for the first time in such a long time that make me a bit anxious!

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I've been made redundant twice during my working career, once in 2002 and the other in 2015. The first time it was really quite scary not knowing how things would go after the security of a long term job. The second time went a bit easier, just the fact of knowing the ins and outs of what was going to happen. 

Fairbairn, you've hit the nail on the head with your last comment. The whole interview thing and being the newbie were always what worried me the most but you will get through it. 

I take it if your work is closing with a large amount of redundancies there will be some government support to help you through this. 

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On ‎6‎/‎22‎/‎2020 at 9:33 AM, Fairbairn said:

That was me told only Thursday I'm they're closing the office and I'm being made redundant.  Joined as a 19 year old 24 years ago.  The business has been going for around 40 years and in Glasgow for around 30.  They've taken the decision , "due to Covid", to merge our business with our sister down south despite the fact we've (standalone) made £18M profit in the last 2 year and other loss making businesses are all remaining untouched.  The saddest thing is (apart from 200+ people losing their jobs) is that the brand is being done away with completely when it's a still a strong, well respected brand in the industry.  The Covid bit is an absolute smokescreen and it's being used as en excuse to fast track something they've been keen to do for years but never been able to due to the way the business was performing.  It really is sickening.

I think you may work with my missus, she got told same on Thursday and exact same circumstances.

Horrendous stuff and sounds like a stitch up.

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2 hours ago, Squirrelhumper said:

I think you may work with my missus, she got told same on Thursday and exact same circumstances.

Horrendous stuff and sounds like a stitch up.

I sent you a similar thing a few weeks ago when you’d posted something but think you missed it! Finnieston?

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As much as I like to moan about my job, you don’t realise how lucky you are until you see mates and family being affected by Covid, most of my pals in Scotland aren’t working now and haven’t done since March, none paid off yet thankfully. 

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1 hour ago, Fairbairn said:

I sent you a similar thing a few weeks ago when you’d posted something but think you missed it! Finnieston?

Never noticed it mate - aye Finnieston.

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Been involved in numerous rounds of redundancies on both sides including one where I put myself at the top of the list.  

Its never ever good although having been part of process of selection and delivering the bad news makes it easier when it happens to you.

Some key things to keep in mind, don't think "why me" as chances are it won't be personal, even when there's a selection between a number of people doing the same role, it'll be based on objective criteria - assuming they've done in correctly.  Don't fight the decision, you're very, very unlikely to change it, do make sure that full and proper process has been followed and put management through the wringer and ask lots of questions, you might be able to get a better pay-off if they've screwed up.  If there's individual consultation you're entitled to have someone with you, if there's no Union involved then usually another member of staff, make sure you do that, they can do that and take notes to make sure you've a record of everything that w

First time I was made redundant, I'd been with company for 18 years - first proper job - and was in a management position.  Due to the nature of the business, I was put on gardening leave straight away with the expectation that I would be made redundant as soon as the consultation was complete.  I couldn't disagree with the business case nor the selection, they were flattening the company structure and taking my entire line of management out.   

In one of my meetings to discuss settlement I said that I expected my notice to be paid tax free, what is known as a PILON payment, it's treated as an ex-gratia payment and I'm not sure what the status is now but then the liability for tax and NI was on the employer.  I was also on three months notice, so three months tax free becomes about 5 months take home.   The HR person sort of hummed and hawed as they clearly didn't want to pay it and said "well some people's contract say they're entitled to a PILON and others don't", to which my response was "what's important is what it says in *my* contract, so I suggest that you check that out and get back to me"

Thing is, as I said, I'd been there 18 years and the company had gone through a number of changes including an acquisition and I'd never been issued a new contract.  I'd heard a couple of years earlier on the QT that a load of original contracts had gone missing.  I checked my copy of contract, which thankfully I'd kept and sure enough I was entitled to the PILON.

Next and final meeting, I went in with a pile of papers and had the contract in the original A4 Manila envelope with "aaid - contract of employment" written on it on top of the pile.   Put it down, didn't say anything about it but I could see the HR person glance at it and looking uncomfortable.   Went through all the things I was looking for got most of the important stuff, a couple of things I was chancing my arm on I let go and finally I said "and the PILON, did you get an answer on that?"  She glanced at the envelope and said "yes, that's okay, we'll do it".

i was entitled to it but I could've had a copy of Viz Comic in that envelope and I reckon I'd still have gotten it. I suspect my contract was one of the ones that they'd lost and so they didn't have a clue whether or not I was entitled to it or not and they'd told the HR officer, "if he pushes this we'll have to say Yes"

Moral of this is, always push your case, they can only say no and as you're leaving anyway, you don't need to worry about upsetting anyone. 

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My old company tried to stiff me (and 2 others) out of about 6 grand each, which was related to regular overtime. If your offer is worded as ‘x weeks/months’ of your contractual pay, make sure that you question them about any regular overtime. I’d also been on the other side of the table, so I knew my way around these types of meetings. 

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8 hours ago, aaid said:

Been involved in numerous rounds of redundancies on both sides including one where I put myself at the top of the list.  

Its never ever good although having been part of process of selection and delivering the bad news makes it easier when it happens to you.

Some key things to keep in mind, don't think "why me" as chances are it won't be personal, even when there's a selection between a number of people doing the same role, it'll be based on objective criteria - assuming they've done in correctly.  Don't fight the decision, you're very, very unlikely to change it, do make sure that full and proper process has been followed and put management through the wringer and ask lots of questions, you might be able to get a better pay-off if they've screwed up.  If there's individual consultation you're entitled to have someone with you, if there's no Union involved then usually another member of staff, make sure you do that, they can do that and take notes to make sure you've a record of everything that w

First time I was made redundant, I'd been with company for 18 years - first proper job - and was in a management position.  Due to the nature of the business, I was put on gardening leave straight away with the expectation that I would be made redundant as soon as the consultation was complete.  I couldn't disagree with the business case nor the selection, they were flattening the company structure and taking my entire line of management out.   

In one of my meetings to discuss settlement I said that I expected my notice to be paid tax free, what is known as a PILON payment, it's treated as an ex-gratia payment and I'm not sure what the status is now but then the liability for tax and NI was on the employer.  I was also on three months notice, so three months tax free becomes about 5 months take home.   The HR person sort of hummed and hawed as they clearly didn't want to pay it and said "well some people's contract say they're entitled to a PILON and others don't", to which my response was "what's important is what it says in *my* contract, so I suggest that you check that out and get back to me"

Thing is, as I said, I'd been there 18 years and the company had gone through a number of changes including an acquisition and I'd never been issued a new contract.  I'd heard a couple of years earlier on the QT that a load of original contracts had gone missing.  I checked my copy of contract, which thankfully I'd kept and sure enough I was entitled to the PILON.

Next and final meeting, I went in with a pile of papers and had the contract in the original A4 Manila envelope with "aaid - contract of employment" written on it on top of the pile.   Put it down, didn't say anything about it but I could see the HR person glance at it and looking uncomfortable.   Went through all the things I was looking for got most of the important stuff, a couple of things I was chancing my arm on I let go and finally I said "and the PILON, did you get an answer on that?"  She glanced at the envelope and said "yes, that's okay, we'll do it".

i was entitled to it but I could've had a copy of Viz Comic in that envelope and I reckon I'd still have gotten it. I suspect my contract was one of the ones that they'd lost and so they didn't have a clue whether or not I was entitled to it or not and they'd told the HR officer, "if he pushes this we'll have to say Yes"

Moral of this is, always push your case, they can only say no and as you're leaving anyway, you don't need to worry about upsetting anyone. 

My Company catches on cycles where they want to lose head count quick, and if guys are not familiar with you, due to being a big company, numerous geographic changes, and managements line changes, you end up reporting into people who don't really know you , so you can end up on severance list simply due to the people putting names on lists are not a sponsor of you.

Anyway - twice they have tried to RIF me (Reduction in Force) these last 4 years,, and i fought with HR both times - still in same company now for 17 years (11 years prior company) - I would have been due around 18 Months pay due to contract, incorporating  1 month pay for every years service, based on cost to company  - Both times they came back to me saying the process had begun in error - 2nd time around i actually jumped roles and got 40% pay rise  - 18 Months pay would be good, but better to keep plates spinning, getting monthly salary, bonuses,  & choose to  leave when you want to leave - have friend in same industry, and he's only really worked 1 year since 2014  .  

My opinion is HR know jack, and you can dance around them often to delay or push for better offer.

 

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4 hours ago, euan2020 said:

My Company catches on cycles where they want to lose head count quick, and if guys are not familiar with you, due to being a big company, numerous geographic changes, and managements line changes, you end up reporting into people who don't really know you , so you can end up on severance list simply due to the people putting names on lists are not a sponsor of you.

Anyway - twice they have tried to RIF me (Reduction in Force) these last 4 years,, and i fought with HR both times - still in same company now for 17 years (11 years prior company) - I would have been due around 18 Months pay due to contract, incorporating  1 month pay for every years service, based on cost to company  - Both times they came back to me saying the process had begun in error - 2nd time around i actually jumped roles and got 40% pay rise  - 18 Months pay would be good, but better to keep plates spinning, getting monthly salary, bonuses,  & choose to  leave when you want to leave - have friend in same industry, and he's only really worked 1 year since 2014  .  

My opinion is HR know jack, and you can dance around them often to delay or push for better offer.

 

Actually, I don't think that it's often that HR don't know what they're doing rather that they're being forced to deal with either poor decisions from senior management who want try and circumvent or accelerate the legal processes or individual line managers who don't follow due process.  My experience is that HR are usually pretty knowledgable but while they provide advice and handle the admin side, they aren't the ones that make the decisions, that's management. 

 

Edited by aaid

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8 hours ago, aaid said:

Actually, I don't think that it's often that HR don't know what they're doing rather that they're being forced to deal with either poor decisions from senior management who want try and circumvent or accelerate the legal processes or individual line managers who don't follow due process.  My experience is that HR are usually pretty knowledgable but while they provide advice and handle the admin side, they aren't the ones that make the decisions, that's management. 

 

I'd agree and it draws a topical comparison with London Govt making decisions based on Medical expert advice.

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