Trained staff could get lower redundancy pay

Employers that invest in training would be able to spend less on employees’
redundancy payments under plans being investigated by the European Commission
(EC).

The EC is looking at new ways to manage the social effects of corporate
restructuring, and the plan to link training to redundancy payments is one of
the options being put forward.

John Evans, chair of the Employment Lawyers Association’s International Committee,
said the theory behind the proposal is that well-trained staff will be in a
better position to find a new job if made redundant.

"This is a sea-change in the arrangements, and the commission is aware
of how controversial the plans would be," he said.

Evans added that the proposal, part of the EC’s socially responsible
restructuring initiative, is still at an early stage. "It’s still at the
stage of broad principals, but these things can develop a momentum of their
own," he said.

Martyn Sloman, adviser for learning, training and development at the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, doubted that the plan would
be workable.

"These things [training and redundancy] are totally separate," he
said. "The decision to invest in training and development is business-led.
It is something [organisations] must have to compete in the modern
economy."

Keith Luxon, HR policy and reward manager at the Laurel Pub Company, agreed
the initiative would not work in the UK.

"It would be very hard to implement, and [if it was implemented] people
in volatile industries would not want to go on training courses," he said.

Trade union Amicus’ joint general secretary Roger Lyons labelled the plans
as bad for business and the labour market, and said it is already cheap to make
people redundant in the UK.

Making 60 middle managers redundant in the UK costs on average £600,000,
compared with Germany, where making 12 middle managers redundant costs £6m, he
said.

By Quentin Reade

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