Introduction to this document

Offer of re-employment to redundant ex-employee

If you were forced to make redundancies during an economic downturn, but now business has improved and you need to re-hire, use our letter to offer a redundant employee either their job back or a similar role.

No legal obligation

If you recently had to make some staff redundant but now business has improved somewhat and you’re looking to increase staff numbers again, one option is to go back to previously redundant employees to see if they’re interested in being re-employed. However, you’re under no legal obligation to offer a redundant former employee their job back if your business situation does improve. You’re quite entitled to start a new recruitment exercise, and you’ll probably want to do that where the ex-employee had conduct or performance issues - those aren’t going to have changed just because they’ve been out of your workplace for several months. However, the key benefit of taking on an ex-employee is that they already know your business and your customers/clients, which means minimal training. This can be particularly important if they had specialist skills or extensive business knowledge. They also already know your existing staff, so they should fit straight back in. If you do want to re-employ an ex-employee, you don’t have to offer them exactly the same role as they did before, although you will probably want to offer them at least a similar role. Likewise, you’re not obliged to offer them the same or better terms and conditions of employment as those they enjoyed previously.

Letter contents

Our Offer of Re-employment to Redundant Ex-Employee refers to the employee’s previous redundancy and then confirms that you can now offer them re-employment. It’s drafted so that you can simply attach our Offer of Appointment Letter containing all the finer details of the job offer. It also makes the following two key points:

  • re-employment would constitute a wholly new period of employment for contractual and statutory purposes - there’s no continuity with the employee’s previous period of employment, provided they were no longer employed for at least a full calendar week (starting from a Sunday) and you don’t otherwise agree to preserve continuity
  • the employee won’t need to pay back any of their redundancy payment - so, they would need to be re-employed for at least two years to qualify for a statutory redundancy payment again.

Other points

If the employee turns down your job offer and instead tries to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, whether there was a genuine redundancy is assessed at the time the original redundancy was made, i.e. from when the employee was given their redundancy notice through to the date of termination of their employment. Any subsequent improvement in your business circumstances, which has now led to the offer of re-employment, is irrelevant to whether the redundancy dismissal was fair or not at the time. There’s also no rule that you have to wait three months before offering re-employment (or before taking on someone new) if your business circumstances improved quicker than expected - that’s just the time limit for an employee to claim unfair dismissal.