Introduction to this document

Successful trial period in alternative work

Where an employee accepts an alternative post during a redundancy programme, if the terms and conditions differ from those of their current post, there's a statutory trial period for both parties to establish whether the post is suitable for the employee. If the trial period is successful and employment continues, there's no dismissal and no redundancy payment. Use our letter to confirm continued employment.

Trial period

During a redundancy programme, you may be able to offer a redundant employee an alternative post within your business. To ensure a redundancy dismissal is fair, you should always explore whether there is alternative work available. Where an employee accepts an alternative post, if the terms and conditions for the new post differ from those of the current post, the employee has a statutory trial period of four weeks, beginning with the date on which they start work under the new contract, in which to decide whether the alternative work is suitable for them. The purpose of the trial period is also for you to establish whether the new post is suitable for the employee. There are various statutory requirements to comply with - see our Offer of Alternative Work.

Successful trial period

Where the trial period is successful, you need to confirm the employee's employment in the new post. This is where our Successful Trial Period in Alternative Work letter comes in. It sets out that the employee has been undertaking a trial period in the new post, and when that's due to end, and then it states you're satisfied the new post is suitable for them and so their continued employment is confirmed. In this scenario, there is no termination of employment and no entitlement to a statutory redundancy payment. So, our letter makes this clear.

Employee leaves

If, during or at the end of the trial period, the employee decides to leave, for redundancy payment purposes they're regarded as having been dismissed on the date on which their employment under the original contract ended. It's still a redundancy dismissal, not a resignation. However, they may not qualify for a statutory redundancy payment. If the new post constitutes "suitable" alternative employment but the employee unreasonably decides to leave, there's no obligation on you to pay a redundancy payment. To be suitable, the post must be on the same terms and conditions as the original contract or suitable employment in relation to the employee. This is viewed objectively. If the new post isn't suitable alternative employment or the employee has reasonable grounds for refusing it, their right to a redundancy payment is preserved. The reasonableness of the employee's refusal depends on factors personal to them and is subjective.