Stuart Chamberlin, Employment law expert with Wolters Kluwer gave HRzone.co.uk a sneak peek into his presentation he’s giving tomorrow about the tough side of employment law. ‘Hard times in employment law’ is the title – ‘suitably Dickensian’, as he put it.

The past 18 months have been ones of redundancy. It’s come as shock not just to employees but to HR practicioners, mostly unused to these situations, and it’s been hard for them to know where to turn when the business desparately needs to make savings and people are your most prized – and expensive – asset.

The alternatives to redundancy have meant many employers have put in place restricted hours, changes to terms and conditions and many employees have given up some of their benefits, holiday, pensions and even pay to avoid redundancy.

Stuart said: "In an organisation the employers think HR are slowing the process down to keep in touch with the law. It’s difficult for them but this is an opportunity."

Stuart continued: "Employers vary with redundancy. Some are willing to take any risk and just hope they won’t get into a employment tribunal, others are very careful. HR can help by being a guide through all this. If you’ve got a good credible HR department and you can tell the MD and mangers what to do, it’s helpful. What you want to do is perhaps work leaner but to keep the people you want."

This management of the survivor syndrome is key according to Stuart: "It’s no good going through the horrors of redundancy if you’re not going to end up where you want to be: a disaffected workforce with people you want to keep wanting to leave and your credibility nowhere."

He concluded: "You’ve got to know what’s at the end of the tunnel as well as what you’re doing."

If you’d like to hear the full talk, he’ll be delivering it at 12.30 at the exhibition theatre at the CIPD conference, Wednesday 18 November.

Also at the conference, Croner were showing off their new HR system, which is especially geared towards SMEs. If you want to have a look but weren’t at the conference, you can check it out here.

Also: if you happen to be in Manchester you should definitely come along to HRzone.co.uk’s fringe event, the throughly unofficial tweetup during the afternoon coffee break. I’ll be at the networking bar and coffee area on the exhibition floor to say hello and ask you what’s most pressing on your HR agenda. See you there.

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