Council clampdown on expensive redundancy deals

Costs: Barnsley Council wants to tighten redundancy payment rules
Costs: Barnsley Council wants to tighten redundancy payment rules
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Senior councillors are being asked to approve new redundancy rules in Barnsley to ensure the council does not end up out of pocket when staff leave the authority with voluntary severance.

When workers agree to voluntary redundancy, the package for over 55s is normally made up of three elements, their redundancy lump sum, pay in lieu of notice and pension payments which begin before the expected retirement date.

If the council’s ruling Cabinet agree, in future deals for staff to leave on voluntary early retirement will be subject to a calculation which ensures the council doesn’t end up paying more cash over the next three years than it would have spent in keeping those workers in place.

The technical term for the additional draw on pension funds is called “strain” and that will have to be worked out under the new terms.

There will also be a new option allowing staff to leave for the benefit of the efficiency of the service, though it it anticipated that will be rarely used.

It would apply to cases where it was appropriate for staff to go, but as a result of circumstances which did not fall into regular categories for staff departures.

Those include where there had been a breakdown in trust and confidence, but not enough to constitute a breach of contract, ill health which was not covered by other council rules and an inability to keep pace with the changes within the organisation.

A report to councillors said requests would only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”.

Although staff leaving on those grounds would not qualify for redundancy pay, the council had the option of awarding an ex-gratia payment to those involved, so long as was not higher than redundancy pay would have been.