Labour Research March 2017

Law Queries

Suitable alternative work

Q. If a redundant member turns down an offer of suitable alternative employment, will they lose their right to a redundancy payment?

A. Yes, there is a risk they will lose the entitlement. Section 141 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the relevant circumstances in which entitlement to a redundancy payment will be lost.

In accordance with S.141, the member is likely to lose the right to a redundancy payment if the new job is to start within four weeks of the expiry of the old contract, and is a suitable job but is unreasonably rejected. 

The question of whether or not the job offer amounts to an offer of “suitable” alternative work is not straightforward and there is much case law on this. 

In addition, whether or not the refusal is reasonable is a potentially complex question. It would be sensible to take legal advice on the member’s individual position.