Businesses restructures can take a number of guises and the rights of employees will depend on the circumstances at hand. These could include situations where a role is eliminated (see our pages on redundancy), transfers to a new employer (see our section on TUPE) or is moved within the business.
There are many employee protections available to employees who may be affected by a redundancy situation. These include the right to a trial period if, in the course of the restructure, you are offered an alternative role. During this 4 week trial period both employee and employer have an opportunity to assess whether the new position is a good fit. If the role isn’t right for the individual then, provided the trial period has not yet come to an end, he or she can give notice and retain any entitlement they have to a redundancy payment. Additionally if an employee is to be made redundant and, by the end of their notice period, they will have been employed continuously for two years, they are entitled to reasonable paid time off to find a new job.
Employees may also be protected even if a restructure does not result in their employment coming to an end. For example, if the role is continuing but during the process of the restructure the employee has been treated particularly badly by their employer, he or she may consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal (see our pages on constructive dismissal). Similarly, if an employer tries to force employees to agree to detrimental terms and conditions of employment, which could include a reduction in salary or working hours those employees may, in limited circumstances, be entitled under law to consider themselves to have been dismissed.
There are many legal protections available to an employee affected by a restructure. We help you understand what those are and how to best protect yourself.