Following the controversial announcement about the closure of BHS, Duff and Phelps LLP chose ERA Solutions Limited to handle the employee rights and redundancy process for the staff from the shops and head office.
“It was a sensitive issue” Sarah Portman ERA Managing Director said “and had to be handled extremely carefully and efficiently”.
Having taken the brief from Duff and Phelps LLP in London, ERA set up a system to administer the staff on a store by store basis in order to match the closure plan.
“We wanted to make sure that the process was as painless as possible for the employees” Sarah went on “So each store’s staff details were entered into our IP System in advance of the receipt of the RP1 claim forms which helped to speed up the redundancy payments”.
With 6500 employees and 164 stores to be managed the team worked long hours and weekends. “The number of employees per store varied from 15 to 120 people and there were 40 stores per week. We had to make sure all the work was done by the end of August which gave us just 4 weeks. We were handling redundancy notices and pay roll problems. And to make the situation clearer for the employees we produced a hand out pack which included fact sheets, claim form guidance and job seeking advice along with a list of potential employers”
ERA were left alone to get on with the process with minimal interaction from Duff and Phelps LLP. “We have a long standing relationship with Duff and Phelps LLP and so they knew they could trust us to do an excellent job” added Sarah. ERA worked at the centre of the relevant parties which included BHS HR, the Redundancy Payments Service, the Employees and the Job Centre.
“We have built up a great relationship with the Redundancy Payments Service and the Job Centre in turn this enabled us to really support those being made redundant” The company also produced government reports as required by the Redundancy Payment Service. ERA were handling the closures of Austin Reed Group Limited (1500 people) and Courtaulds Brands Limited (334) at the same time. “We have expanded our staff numbers to 9 now” said Sarah “So we are able to handle small, large and multiple cases at the same time”.
At the end of the project many BHS employees actually called to thank ERA for their support and for going the extra mile to help them. “I am extremely proud of my team of dedicated, professionals for the way they handled this case and those involved with care and dignity”. Sarah said. With over 50 years experience in Employment Rights, the ERA team are an ideal partner to Insolvency Practitioners offering all aspects of solutions to employee matters including an on-site service if required.
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