Introduction to this document

Offer of alternative work

Use our form to offer alternative employment to an employee whose job has been identified as redundant. This is an essential part of a fair consultation procedure, assuming, of course, that there is alternative work available.

Alternative work

During a redundancy programme, you may find that you’re able to offer a redundant employee an alternative post within your business. In fact, in order to ensure a redundancy dismissal is fair, you should always explore whether there is any alternative work available. If the alternative post is “suitable” and the employee turns it down unreasonably, this can enable you to avoid liability to make a statutory redundancy payment. In order to be suitable, the post must be on the same terms and conditions as the original post or suitable in relation to the particular employee. This is to be viewed objectively. On the other hand, the reasonableness of the employee’s refusal depends on factors personal to them and is a subjective matter to be considered from their point of view. Always ask the employee to give detailed reasons for declining the post. This should enable you to assess whether a redundancy payment is due or not. If you’re in any doubt as to whether an available alternative job might be acceptable to a redundant employee, you should discuss it with them. Even if the job involves a demotion, loss of status or wages, they may prefer to accept the offer rather than become unemployed. If the vacancy is not at least discussed with the employee, they may argue at a later date that the lack of consultation was sufficient to render the dismissal unfair.

Trial period

If the terms and conditions of the new post differ from those of the current post, the employee has a statutory trial period of four weeks, beginning when they start work under the new contract, in which to decide whether the alternative work is suitable for them. There are a number of statutory requirements to comply with here and the Offer of Alternative Work letter will ensure you follow the correct procedure. You and your employee can agree to extend the trial period beyond the statutory four weeks for the purpose of retraining the employee for the new job.

Ongoing duty

Your duty to seek alternative employment for an employee continues right up until the date when their employment terminates. Once employment has ended, there is no further duty on you to offer new employment.