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Ask the Rural Expert: Advice On Making Redundancies

View profile for Catherine Almeida
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I plan to move out of dairy farming so, regrettably, I may have to make my herdsman redundant. He lives in a farm cottage and I will need him to move out, but I don’t want conflict and I want to deal with this properly. How should I proceed?

This is, I’m sure, a difficult time for you and you will have a number of complex processes to go through. To avoid the risk of a claim for unfair dismissal, you must give an employee a fair reason and follow a clear redundancy process.

Clearly, since you are exiting the industry, redundancies are probably inevitable. As part of a formal process you must consult your employee in person to discuss why you’re making his role redundant and to consider any alternative roles that you may be able to offer. Invite him to this meeting by letter and let him know he’s entitled to be accompanied by a colleague or a representative. It is wise to take detailed notes of what is discussed at such meetings.

Once you have observed a period of consultation and considered your employee’s point of view, meet him again and then if appropriate confirm the date of his redundancy in writing, detailing his notice entitlement, any untaken holiday pay and his statutory redundancy payment. Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, staff who have been employed for two years qualify for statutory redundancy pay. It is good practice to offer the right of appeal against your decision. Any grounds of appeal should be considered carefully and fully and be responded to.

Insofar as the cottage is concerned, your herdsman may have security of tenure; you cannot just require him to leave the cottage without understanding the nature of his occupation. This is something you should seek detailed advice on. In reality, since he may want to find another position, and perhaps to relocate, this may not cause an issue. If he refuses to leave the cottage you may have to obtain possession through a court order, if you can show grounds. However frustrating this may be, you should not put pressure on him or force him to vacate the property, as to do so can amount to a criminal offence.

Dealing with this type of scenario can be complex, not least because the procedures to be followed are critical and there are emotions at play on both sides. However, it is important to seek professional legal advice so you follow proper procedures and deal with this carefully and hopefully without an argument.

For specialist legal advice contact Catherine Almeida, Employment Solicitor on 07398 630840 or by email on or contact one of our local offices.

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The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation.