Suitable alternative employment
Suitable alternative employment

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Suitable alternative employment
  • Suitability and unreasonable refusal
  • Suitable alternative employment
  • Examples of suitability from the case law
  • Burden of proof

The question of suitable alternative employment arises when an employee who has been made redundant is offered a renewed or new contract for employment on different terms and conditions, starting within four weeks of the employee’s dismissal (see Practice Note: Renewal of contract, re-engagement and trial periods).

If an employee accepts the offer of employment on different terms and conditions, the question of its suitability never arises. The employee is simply considered not to have been dismissed for the purposes of entitlement to a redundancy payment.

Employees cannot maintain their rights to redundancy payments simply by refusing any alternative work that is offered to them. An employee cannot unreasonably turn down alternative work if it:

  1. is suitable

  2. was offered before the end of the previous employment, and

  3. starts four weeks or less after the end of the previous employment

If the employee does turn down such alternative work, the employee will lose their entitlement to the redundancy payment (see Practice Note: Unreasonable refusal of alternative employment). The same applies if the new employment is on the same terms and conditions, although the question of suitability will not arise, only the question of whether a refusal was unreasonable.

Suitability and unreasonable refusal

The question of suitable alternative employment is separate from whether a refusal is unreasonable, since employees may have very good reasons for