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It goes without saying that redundancy is incredibly stressful for everyone concerned and should always be considered as a last resort. After all, you’ve invested time and money in your staff and letting them go not only means losing their skills but also the investment you’ve already made.

What are the alternatives to redundancy?

Staff training

It may sound crazy to invest in staff training when money is tight but there are various benefits, namely:

  • Increased productivity and lower overheads
  • Lower cost than recruiting new staff with the necessary skill sets – saving you money
  • Boost to staff morale – happy staff will be more productive

Changing contracts

There are several options when it comes to changing contracts, namely short-time working, temporary lay-offs and flexible working. The first two are intended as short-term measures only, to help you recover from a temporary reduction in work available. The latter is a permanent change to the employee’s contract which has to be negotiated and discussed.

Benefits to changing contracts

  • You can retain the investment made in your existing staff saving you money on re-training
  • You can cut overheads relating to salary costs
  • You don’t have to go through the redundancy process thus saving you expensive redundancy payments

Short-time working or temporary lay off

When it comes to short-time working or temporary lay off, there are a few key points to remember:

  • You have the right to ask staff not to come into work. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that you have the right not to pay them.
  • A contract of employment can allow for the member of staff not to be paid in situations where short-time working or temporary lay offs are concerned.
  • If the contract of employment doesn’t cover short-time working or temporary lay-offs, you can negotiate individually with each employee concerned.

What exactly is flexible working?

There are no set rules when it comes to flexible working. It can involve staff working

  • Less hours every day
  • Less days a week
  • An agreed number of hours a week in a flexible working pattern
  • In a job share
  • From home


A downturn in business doesn’t have to lead straight to redundancy for employees.  It is important to take a flexible approach while keeping an eye on the future, both for the employees and for the business itself.

Get support with the difficult decisions – you are not alone.