How to write a redundancy letter

UK employment law requires you to issue letters at all stages of a redundancy process. But how do you start writing such an important letter? And what should you include in each one? Andrew Willis of Croner explains how to write a redundancy letter.

Redundancy Letter UK

What is a redundancy letter?

There are several types of redundancy letter. The one thing they all have in common is they serve to keep the employee informed about redundancy proceedings. Whether the letter is informing them their position is at risk of redundancy, inviting them to a consultation meeting, or telling them you’ve selected them for redundancy, you need to write them in a way that ensures your legal compliance.

Types of redundancy letters can include:

  • job at risk of redundancy letter – this should be the initial contact with the employee(s) about the potential for redundancy
  • redundancy consultation letter – this should be the letter you send to invite them to a consultation meeting
  • redundancy notice letter – this letter should inform them that you’ve selected them for redundancy and what the next steps will be. Note that this may not necessarily be the final letter. There can be more at that stage, such as a second consultation meeting

What should I include in a redundancy letter?

When writing a redundancy letter, there are many things you should consider:

  • You should provide employees as much information on the redundancy process as possible. This means communicating updates, as well as what upper management is doing to ensure all alternatives to redundancy are being considered. It’s highly recommended that you always inform employees of their rights; for example, certain employees might be eligible for redundancy pay.
  • From an employer’s point of view, compliance is the most important consideration. To avoid claims of unfair dismissal, you must follow a fair and legally compliant process. Otherwise, you may face a costly and damaging employment tribunal. So, the question you should be asking with each letter is, “Will this open me up to claims?” If the answer is anything other than “no”, don’t proceed.
  • Consider whether you’ve accurately conveyed all the relevant information. Don’t send a letter to an employee until you’re certain of the plan moving forward. Know how long your consultation process will be and how you are going to conduct meetings before you start inviting employees to meetings.

How do I write a redundancy letter?

To write a redundancy letter, follow the general process below:

  1. Begin “Dear Sir/Madam”. Then, outline the purpose of your letter. If the objective is to inform the employee that their role is at risk of redundancy, tell them that. If it’s asking them to attend a consultancy meeting, tell them that.
  2. Next, you’ll want to outline what they need to know, including their rights. Let’s use the redundancy notice letter as an example. Here, you’ll need to tell them how many weeks’ notice they are entitled to, and why. You should tell them how your organisation will treat accrued annual leave if not taken before their final date of employment. Inform them of how much redundancy pay they can expect, and when they will receive it.
  3. Inform them of their right to appeal the decision.
  4. Finally, you may want to finish the letter with a more personal touch. Redundancy is a stressful and emotional time for the employee. Tell them that your door is open for discussion, and where they can find support if they need it.

Every business is different, so it’s important to adapt any template or guide you’re given for your own organisation.

About the author

Andrew Willis is Head of Legal at Croner and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office-based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the UK.

See also

How to calculate redundancy pay for furloughed staff

How to place staff on short-time working

All you need to know about lay-offs and short-time working

Five things to consider before making staff redundant

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 23 July 2020

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.