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Your options if your employer offers you another job

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

Before your employer makes you redundant they might offer you another job in the organisation. This is called ‘suitable alternative employment’.

Tell your employer in writing if you decide to accept the alternative job. Ask for a new contract, new job description and any changes to your terms and conditions, for example your pay.

You might not want the alternative job - for example if it pays less or it’s a different type of work. You might be able to get redundancy pay instead if you have a good reason to refuse the job. To get redundancy pay you’ll need to have worked for your employer for at least 2 years by the time your original job ends.

If you’ll have worked for your employer for at least 2 years by the time your job ends, your employer has to look for other jobs they could offer you. If they don’t, your redundancy could be unfair.

How you should get an alternative job offer

Your employer can offer you an alternative job in any way, but unless they follow the rules you can refuse it and get your redundancy pay instead. Your employer has to:

  • offer you the new job in writing 
  • make the offer before your current job ends
  • make sure the new job starts within 4 weeks of your current job ending
  • give you enough detail about the job to understand what you’d be doing and how it would be different to your current job

Trying out alternative jobs

You can spend 4 weeks trying out any alternative job you’re offered. If your employer offers you several alternative jobs you can try each one for 4 weeks.

Your trial period could start up to 4 weeks after your current job ends. No matter when your trial period starts, you’ll still get 4 weeks to try the alternative job.

Your trial period still only lasts 4 weeks if you’re ill or on holiday for part of it.

You and your employer can agree to extend your trial period if you need training to do the new job. Make sure you get your employer’s agreement in writing, with a clear end date.

Your redundancy might be unfair if your employer doesn’t let you try the job before deciding whether to take it.

If you don’t want to take an alternative job

Tell your employer in writing if you don’t want to accept an alternative job. Check that they’ll give you your redundancy pay instead. You have a right to redundancy pay if you’ll have worked for your employer for at least 2 years by the time your current job ends. To get your redundancy pay, you’ll also need to:

  • refuse the alternative job before your current job ends, or before the end of the alternative job’s 4-week trial
  • give a good reason for refusing your new job

A good reason could be about the job itself or about your personal situation. It’s best to explain your reasons when you refuse the job. You might give reasons like:

  • lower pay
  • longer journey to work or lack of public transport
  • extra costs of getting to work
  • disruption to your family life, eg problems with childcare
  • health issues

If you’re offered a job in another location

Check if your contract has a ‘mobility clause’ that says you have to work anywhere your employer asks you to.

If your contract doesn’t have a mobility clause

You can take your redundancy pay instead of the alternative job if it would cost you more or take you longer to get to work.

If the costs and travel time are the same, the change of location alone won’t be enough to let you refuse the job and keep your redundancy pay.

If your contract has a mobility clause

A mobility clause means your employer can ask you to work somewhere else instead of making you redundant. You might not get any redundancy pay if you refuse to change location.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you have a mobility clause but you’re being asked to work somewhere you can’t get to.

If your employer doesn’t accept your reason for not taking the job

Your employer can refuse to pay your redundancy pay if they don’t think you have a good reason for turning down the job.

To get your redundancy pay, follow these steps:

Step 1: talk to your employer

If your employer doesn’t accept you have a good reason, try having an informal chat with them. Ask them to explain why they don’t agree. You might be able to sort the issue out by talking to them.

Step 2: raise a grievance

Check if your employer has a formal grievance procedure you can use. Even if they haven’t, you can still raise a grievance - for example by writing a letter.

Explain why you think you the job wasn’t suitable and ask them to pay your redundancy pay.

If you think a grievance will take a long time, you might want to go straight to the next step, as there’s a time limit. 

Step 3: pre-claim conciliation

If your grievance doesn’t get the result you want, you can take your employer to a tribunal.

Before you decide to take a case to tribunal you can contact the Labour Relations Agency (LRA), who offer a free and confidential conciliation service.

The LRA will see if your employer will agree to a process called ‘pre-claim conciliation’. This is a way to resolve disputes without going to a tribunal.

Call the LRA Conciliation and Arbitration Department on 028 9032 1442.

Step 4: take your employer to a tribunal

Your last resort is to take your employer to a tribunal. You have 3 months minus 1 day to start a tribunal claim. This time limit starts on the date you turned down the alternative job offer.

If you need help at any point, you can get advice from your nearest Citizens Advice.

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