Redundancy; things I didn’t know – ‘suitable alternative role’

Today is Sunday and it has been four days since my boss has told me that it is likely my role will be made redundant and to come up with an alternative for me to continue working with them. I thought I’d write about my experience in terms of this life-changing experience because, although I only have a little corner of the web, I’d prefer that it be used to help someone who’s going through the same thing as I am. Obviously this isn’t targeted to all of my readers, but if I help just one person, that makes me a really happy Franno.

Since the meeting, a few things have happened. The evening after I’d been told, I wrote an alternative solution for work and emailed it into my bosses straight away. On Thursday, I had to sit in the office with both bosses, feeling pretty uncomfortable, whilst they tried and brightened up the situation with small joking comments. Which actually made me feel worse.

Friday is my usual day off, and D decided to take my mind off of things by going out to lunch and spending the day together, talking about everything else but what had happened. I’d already started feeling much more positive on Friday; with my proposal, it’d mean less working hours for the same pay and that my bosses would be in the office to cover my now-redundant job. Perfect. I felt a bit bitter in the evening when I had read on Facebook that both my bosses had a “crap week” but it was okay, as one of their hubbys had bought them a bottle of champers and the other had cooked them a fantastic dinner with a bottle of wine. Yep, what a crap week for them…

On Saturday, I went into the office for my usual three hour stint and found an email from my boss with a counteroffer to my original proposal. The role they had offered me was £200 per week, which equates to less than £12K per year! Much too less for me to survive and run my household, now that that’s the sole income for my house, now I’m living on my own. I think it’s too soon to ask D to move in after four months!

Luckily, at the time I was emailing my boss back to reject the offer, my best uni mate Immy had FaceTimed me and told me to go online and check that I couldn’t outright reject a job opportunity if they’d offered me one. So I looked online and came across the gov.uk website (in particular, this section on Your Rights in Redundancy) and found that you can’t reject a job that your work offer you, unless that work is unsuitable for your situation. There’s a whole section on suitable alternative work here and another section on the web here, which is actually from an employer’s point of view as to what they can offer you should they have made you redundant and what complies as a ‘suitable alternative role’. Ultimately, if your new alternative is extremely different from your current role, in terms of skills or expertise, pay, hours or other extreme changes to your original contract, this makes your alternative work unsuitable.

After crying a bit more (purely due to the fact that I am so under-read when it comes to redundancy or any other legalities), snapping myself out of it and reading all of this information (thanks again, Google!), I realised that the role that my employers had offered me is not suitable. And I wrote them back saying that it was an ‘unsuitable alternative role’ in that exact wording and asked what my redundancy package would therefore be, as I doubt that they can offer me anymore of a suitable package as they are trying to cut their costs. If work argue that the role that they have offered me is suitable, I can take them to a tribunal. Which is something I really don’t want to do, but they keep saying to me that this whole redundancy thing is ‘business’ and, at the end of all of this, so would taking them to a tribunal. It’s nothing personal; I just need to ensure that I’m being treated in the right way after working really hard to work for them for all of these years.

Anyway, this weekend has been far more productive than I thought it would be (mainly because I thought I’d still be sulking about it all, but apparently, I’m a grown up now!). I have been applying for jobs to ensure that I’m not unemployed for too long after all of this has taken place. I have applied for everything from receptionist roles to managerial roles, because I’m aware that it’s difficult to get a job nowadays and I don’t want to be waiting around too long. Luckily for me, I still have a foot in the door for my part-time job as a receptionist at my local sports centre and my friend has given me an opportunity with selling products as a freelancer, so that’s another short-term income.

So, overall, things are looking up and I know what my next steps are. It’s just a shame that it’s come to this after I’ve really enjoyed working for the company for three years, but that’s life and I’m sure I’ll find and love the new job that I’ll be in anyway!

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