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Martin Brewer

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Ask the expert: SOS – help with SOSR

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How should you handle a re-engagement after dismissal of SOSR following a salary reduction? Martin Brewer and Esther Smith advise.

 

 

 

The question:

Due to a requirement to cut costs we need to introduce salary reductions (amongst other measures).
Following consultation, it is likely that we will have a small number of individuals who will not be in agreement.  If we are to then dismiss them for SOSR, at what point do we offer them re-engagement on the new terms as I understand that the notice of termination must be clear and unambiguous.

Legal advice:

 
Martin Brewer, partner, Mills & Reeve
 

You are correct that notice must be clear and unambiguous, and you should also note that notice is effective from the date it is received.
 
In these circumstances it is usual to make the offer in the letter giving notice and state that the offer is open to be accepted at any point in the notice period but that the offer will lapse and not be capable of acceptance once notice has expired.  You may, of course, face unfair dismissal claims, so you must be able to show a compelling business case for the change and it may be worth reiterating that to staff in the letter giving notice.

Martin Brewer can be contacted at [email protected]. For further information, please visit Mills & Reeve.

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Esther Smith, partner, Thomas Eggar
 

You are right that notice of termination must be clear and unambiguous, but this does not mean that you cannot offer re-engagement at the same time that you serve notice. If you make it clear what date their employment on their current terms will end at the expiry of the notice, you can simultaneously offer them re-engagement the following day on the new terms and conditions. You should also make it clear that if they don’t accept the re-engagement on the new terms and conditions, that their employment will end on the date specified as the end of their notice period.

They will have continuity of service if they accept the re-engagement but will of course be subject to the new terms, which is what you are trying to achieve.

Esther Smith is a partner in Thomas Eggar’s Employment Law Unit. For further information, please visit Thomas Eggar.

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