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Redeployment can occur in a business restructure or change process where certain roles become redundant. Consequently, employers might offer an alternative position elsewhere in the business. An employee is not legally obliged to accept this alternative position, and employers are not legally obliged to offer new positions to all employees facing redundancy. However, employers do owe a good faith duty. This means that employers should consider whether there are redeployment opportunities and communicate this information to staff. This article will explain:

  • what redeployment is; 
  • what the legal obligations for your business are; and 
  • some possible benefits of redeployment to consider. 

What Is Redeployment? 

In a change process or other situation where your business is restructuring, there are often situations where an employee’s existing role no longer exists in the new model. Where an employee’s role becomes redundant, redeployment is the process of finding an alternative position for those employees within your business. This process is about ensuring that employers make every reasonable effort to retain the employment of staff. Likewise, as an employer, you must ensure your business complies with its obligations of good faith towards its employees.

In practical terms, redeployment can involve an employee taking a substantially similar position but in a different office or location. Alternatively, an employee may move to a new position that is entirely different to their existing role. Note that an employee is not obliged to accept a proposed alternative job, even if you offer one. It is best practice to provide employees with a transfer package if you transfer them to a different physical location or office far away from their existing workplace. 

Legal Obligations for Businesses Regarding Redeploying Employees

Businesses do not legally have to redeploy all employees whose roles have been redundant in a change process. This is unrealistic, and sometimes there are simply no roles available for the affected staff. However, the legal obligation on businesses is to make a good faith effort to see whether these redeployment opportunities exist for staff. 

The actual extent of this obligation can differ depending on circumstances. You will need to consider if there is a vacant role that is substantially similar to an employee facing redundancy. It is a good idea to get specialist legal advice if your business has a situation like this. An expert will help determine whether another role is substantially similar to an existing employee’s. 

In general, your business must act reasonably and fairly towards employees who may be facing redundancy as a result of a change process. It is a good idea to offer support in all cases to these employees, such as outplacement support. This support might include resume checking or interview skills to help employees facing redundancy get another job once they leave your business.

Possible Benefits of Redeployment for Businesses

Redeploying employees can offer multiple benefits for your business. Of course, redeploying employees that would otherwise see their jobs made redundant means you keep them within the business. Consequently, you can retain their experience, connections and skills within your business. 

Likewise, the employee themself will not need to go through the redundancy process, which can often be stressful and painful. Redeployment is a visible way of treating your staff and employees with dignity and being a good employer. This is also likely to increase the motivation and trust of other staff as well. 

Additionally, redeployment can be an effective way of injecting new blood into other parts of your business. There can be real value in an employee with experience in one part of a business transferring to a different function and combining their knowledge of another aspect of the business with their new team.

Key Takeaways

Redeployment is the process of finding an alternative position for employees within your business whose roles become redundant due to a change process. It can involve the same kind of role in a different place or a different kind of role altogether. While your business is not obliged to offer redeployment to all affected employees, it is obliged to at least make a good faith effort to see whether redeployment opportunities exist. Redeployment can benefit both an employee and an employer. This is because businesses often benefit from the retention of experience and skills offered by existing staff. If you want to know more about redeployment and what your business’ obligations are, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is redeployment in New Zealand?

In a change process, some employee’s roles inevitably become redundant. Redeployment occurs when an employer actively tries to seek other roles in the business where those employees can be ‘redeployed’.

Does a business legally have to redeploy all employees in a restructure?

No, it does not. If there are genuinely no new roles for the employees being made redundant, a business has no legal obligation to redeploy them. However, the good faith obligation on a business is to at least consider whether there are possible redeployment opportunities.

What should an employer do if it cannot redeploy an employee?

Employers should offer outplacement support to employees they cannot redeploy, proportionate to the employer’s resources. This may include support in the form of counselling or practical skills assistance such as resume building or interview training aimed at helping the employee find other work.

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