It was reported today that HSBC may now be considering a move to the USA as an alternative to a suggestion earlier this year that it was thinking of relocating to China.
The bank is due to make a decision on whether to relocate by the end of the year and it is expected that HSBC will be cutting 25,000 jobs, including up to 8,000 in the UK.
What does this mean for HSBC employees?
There will ultimately be a redundancy situation if, and when HSBC intend to cease to carry on its business "in the place where the employee was ... employed" (section 139(1)(a))Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA). This covers both relocations and site closures.
Where an employer moves work of a particular kind from one site to another, and dismisses employees as a result, this will also be a redundancy situation.
Although the volume of work and the requirement for employees to carry it out, may remain the same, it will have ceased or diminished "in the place where the employee was employed" (section 139(1)(b)(ii), ERA 1996).
This would still be the case whether or not the original workplace stays open for other kinds of work.
As part of a fair redundancy exercise, employers often invite volunteers for redundancy in return for a financial package and entering into a settlement agreement.
Employees should check their contract of employment and staff handbook in order to calculate what their statutory redundancy entitlement might be along with any enhanced scheme their employer may have in the event that a compulsory redundancy is made.
If an employee opts for a voluntary settlement or is put at risk and confirmed redundant, they should seek advice from an independent employment solicitor. It is a requirement of any legally binding agreement that the employee received independent legal advice and the employer should make a contribution towards the legal costs of doing so.
If you work for HSBC at Canary Wharf and would like some guidance on the procedures that need to be followed and how you can best protect yourself then please contact one of our employment lawyers and we could arrange to see you at our office at:
25 Canada Square