The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on small businesses all over the UK, and while many are managing to keep hold of their staff thanks to the Government’s furlough scheme, it’s inevitable that redundancies will take place when the Government are no longer offering assistance.

Furlough is expected to go on until September of this year, so that gives businesses some time to plan ahead for redundancies.

It’s important that you follow the correct procedure when letting a member of staff go to ensure that you’re sticking by the law and treating staff members with the ultimate kindness and respect. Here is the process that you should follow:

Ensure The Redundancies Are Necessary

You should only consider staff redundancies when you’ve ruled out every alternative option available. If reducing staff hours or temporarily laying employees off just isn’t going to cut it, then you’ll probably have to go forward with the redundancy. If that is the case, check the rules on employee consultation first.

Before you begin your selection process, you could offer voluntary redundancy to give employees the chance to quit if they’ve been thinking about doing so anyway. Make sure to offer this to as wide a field as possible so that you don’t come across as discriminatory.

Make A Redundancy Plan

Your redundancy plan will take every aspect of the redundancy into consideration, from the number of people you’re letting go, to the timeframes and the selection criteria. You should prepare yourself to support staff through the process and keep an open mind towards anyone who wishes to appeal.

Inform Employees

The first thing you should do is inform those that are at risk of redundancy and the reason why it may be necessary. Explain your selection process and how many redundancies you’re considering, and encourage your employees to ask questions. The more honest you are throughout the process, the better.

Select Who Will Be Leaving

To make sure that your selections are as fair as possible, you should only make decisions based off facts and not personal opinions. Take a look at your company records to find out information about staff members’ attendance, disciplinaries and standard of work performance.

Try not to select people to leave based on lack of experience, as this can be seen as discriminatory, especially with young people.

Figure Out Redundancy Pay

For employees who have worked for you for at least 2 full years, you must pay them at least the legal minimum amount of redundancy pay- and make sure you follow what’s on your employment contract. You can use this redundancy pay calculator to calculate your employee’s statutory redundancy pay.

Support Your Staff

Redundancy is difficult for everyone, and you can support staff who have been made redundant by offering counselling, financial advice, or outplacement support to help prepare them for a new job.

Services like Randstad RiseSmart will help support smoother career transitions for your former employees, working with your HR team to help move talent into new careers. With the support of an outplacement provider like Randstad RiseSmart, you can be assured that your former employees are in safe hands and on their way towards a brighter future.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.