I have worked for my current employer for 19 years as their HR/Payroll & Benefits Manager. 4 weeks ago I was called into a meeting with the MD who advised me that due to his disillusionment with employees (and with particular reference to an out of court settlement he had to make last year) he had engaged the services of a company that provides 24 hr legal advice, standard templates/contracts, representation at tribunal and insurance if an award is made against the company. He therefore stated that as some of my role had gone he would be reducing my salary by 50%, leaving me with Payroll & Benefits and he was expecting that to start after 4 weeks. I was stunned to say the least.

I asked him if we could me again to give me time to think about the situation. I met him again and asked him why he felt that only 50% of my role remained. He said it was just a gut feeling. I produced my job description and advised him that unless there were any difficult HR issues, the split was probably more like 80/20 (HR being 20). I proposed that I would take the Payroll & Benefits role for 74% of my salary. He said he would consider it and we arranged to meet again. At the last meeting he said that he would only go to 60%. He also mentioned me going self employed and being paid on a freelance basis as that would give me some tax breaks. I said that being self employed was not an option and I didn’t believe that what he was offering was a fair alternative to my current role and that we should probably discuss redundancy. He said he couldn’t possible discuss that at the time and we arranged to meet again. We met last week and he told me that this was an official meeting and he was advising me that due to the need to cut costs he was going to be making redundancies and he was advising me that I was at risk and that we would meet again on 3 May when we could discuss any proposals! I briefly said that was what I thought I had done 4 weeks ago to which he said that was “informal” and this is now official. My initial thoughts are that;

a) he came to me with a fait a complet and the official procedure is now sticking plaster because he breached my contract by not consulting me before he had decided to remove my role.

b) he is now saying it is to do with costs (which he didn’t mention before) yet he will still need someone to do the payroll. By my calculation the breakeven point between my offer of 74% of salary and redundany + part time payroll officer is likely to be January 2013.

c) we already have an insurance in place that covers legal representation at tribunal + insurance cover for any awards made.

Is my position really redundant and if so, is 60% of salary a fair alternative?

Sorry for the long post.

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