During recent months there may have been no alternative to redundancy, however if work then starts to come in and you need more staff - can you re employ a member of staff you made redundant?

Yes you can, however you should be careful that you don't run the risk of a previous employee questioning whether the redundancy was genuine and them claiming unfair dismissal. An employee you have made redundant has 3 months from the date that their previous employment ended to bring a claim, provided they have had one year’s service.

Ideally it is probably better to wait 3 months before employing any additional members of staff.

Even after 3 months the supply of work maybe unreliable and you may not have enough work to employ someone permanently.

One option is to offer the member of staff a Fixed Term Contract (FTC). A Fixed Term Contract is a contract that either has a specific end date of will run for a period of time e.g.  3 months.

However there are some points and pitfalls that you must consider and avoid.

If an employee remains on an FTC for more than 4 yrs then they will automatically convert to a permanent contract under the Fixed Term Employees (Less Favourable treatment) regulations 2002.  This will also apply if an employee has a series of fixed term contracts which exceeds 4 yrs.

Finally make it clear that the Fixed Term Contract is a new period of employment to prevent any queries about the continuity of employment and the four year rule. Also remember that a member of staff has the same unfair dismissal rights after one year - the same as a permanent employee. If the FTC runs a year or longer (or a series of contracts), the employee will have the right to claim unfair dismissal.


RML members can download a sample Fixed Term Contract