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The facts

Through the Lancashire Evening Post we have learnt that the Central Lancashire NHS Trust has spent almost £2.3 million on making employees redundant during 2010/2011 (“the period”). This is apparently the largest amount spent by Primary Care Trusts in the North West of England. 25 non-medical staff were made redundant during the period and 1 medical staff member was made redundant. In the same period 39 staff accepted voluntary redundancy, of those 13 which were medical staff members.

The MP for Chorley stated that “This is only the first wave of redundancies – more are expected later this year”.

The law relating to redundancies

Employees have certain rights relating to redundancy by virtue of their contract of employment and statute (principally the Employment Rights Act 1996). These rights include time off to seek new employment, the payment of statutory redundancy pay (if there has been continuous employment of 2 years or more), the payment of contractual redundancy pay (if specified in the contract of employment), and the right to be dismissed fairly in a redundancy situation. The right not to be unfairly dismissed under the Employment Rights Act 1996 in a redundancy situation obliges the employer to consult adequately with the employee, select the employee fairly, and consider alternative employment instead of making the employee redundant.

The thoughts of our specialist employment lawyers

As the MP for Chorley stated, more redundancies are expected in the future. In fact approximately £29.5 million has been set aside by Central Lancashire NHS Trust to reorganise the Primary Care Trust. How much is to be spent on redundancies is unknown but it would be reasonable to believe that this reorganisation may involve significant amounts of redundancies in the future. Employees of Central Lancashire NHS Trust would therefore be well advised to consult a specialist employment lawyer on redundancy law and their rights and options in a redundancy situation.

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