Has Santa got the sack for you this Christmas?

redundancy-2It is never easy to be making people redundant (or to be made redundant) but December and January seem to be the worst time of all.

Do you

  • tell people now that they might be redundant in January and ruin their Christmas?
  • say nothing and let them run up their credit cards and tell them as the bills hit the mat?

Is it better to

  • have a great Christmas party anyway as people need to cheer up?
  • cancel or go for low budget options to save money?

Whatever you do it won’t be right for someone.

We have seen some interesting ways of handling this.  From asking Santa to give out P45s, to finding the boss sobbing in the photocopy room – we have seen a lot of Christmas woe over the years.

Here are our top tips for a difficult subject.

  • People know you aren’t making enough money – tell them there is a risk.  Their Christmas is already going to be ruined by worry about their jobs.
  • When they get over the shock, people appreciate having accurate information to budget with.
  • Consulting people always creates uncertainty and that is never fun at Christmas.
  • Lack of consultation means everyone listens to rumours – it doesn’t mean nobody worries.
  • Never start individual consultation conversations when either of you have been drinking (it will only end in tears or worse)
  • Never plan consultation meetings as people are gathering for the Christmas lunch/party –no-one wants to walk out of that meeting to a party!
  • Don’t refuse someone time off to go to the school play saying “We can’t manage without you”, and then tell them the next day you are about to manage without them permanently
  • Never tell people in the pub or in a public place
  • Christmas is a peak time for people calling the Samaritans anyway – make sure you have some kind of employee assistance plan for anyone who is at risk – don’t just leave them to go home alone for the holidays.

If you can’t stomach this and really cannot face this until the New Year – at least tell people there will be budget cuts first thing in the New Year – and do not rush things when they get back on the grounds that you have waited long enough.  People still need the same amount of consultation and consideration in January!

People will remember how you dealt with them, long after your budget problems are history.  Remember, redundancy is about life, not just about Christmas.

If you are at risk of being made redundant over Christmas, here is a free download about your rights and entitlement to redundancy pay  – click here.

If you are worried about making people redundant at Christmas (or after Christmas)  talk to us – claim your free advice

About the Author Annabel Kaye

We founded Irenicon in 1980 to help employers make employment law work for them. We were always a mixed disciplinary practice – something quite revolutionary at the time. Over the years we have worked with some wonderful organisations, pushing the boundaries of how employment law can really be made to work without restricting the flow of the organisation.

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