It is not unusual for an employer to have a situation where there is a reorganisation or redundancy exercise where there is a plan to announce proposals to staff at a time which coincides with staff being off work through annual leave, sickness or maternity leave.
Given the ease with which text messages are capable of being sent, you can guarantee that if you tell group of staff what is planned they will communicate this to anyone who isn’t there and there is nothing worse than someone finding out from a colleague rather than their employer so you do need to make efforts to communicate with anyone who can’t be in the meeting either before everyone else or at the same time as an announcement is being made.
It is particularly damaging to the employment relationship if someone finds out about plans second hand. Sticking a letter through the door isn’t good enough – people want to be able to ask questions and feel like they’ve been included so technically whilst you might have delivered the same message, people still feel they haven’t shared in the same process afforded to everyone else and this hurts. This means you need to make even more effort to communicate with people who can’t be in the office and to be available and to answer questions.
If it is a case of annual leave can you wait a couple of days until someone is back in work? If someone is about to have their baby, again can it wait? Think about how it will look in 6 months time in a tribunal – will the sense of urgency you are feeling to proceed with your exercise have the same weight then?