Redundancy

Being put at risk of redundancy is upsetting and being made redundant can be hard to deal with.

If there is a genuine redundancy situation your employer must follow a fair procedure and with adequate consultation. If it isn’t genuine then you can bring a claim for unfair dismissal and breach of contract in an Employment Tribunal.

 

Does my employer have to discuss with me what is happening?

Yes. Your employer must consult with you about the proposed redundancies as soon as possible. This includes deciding on the number of redundancies as soon as possible.

They will usually have to consult with you individually, but special rules apply depending on how many redundancies they are planning. If 20 or more redundancies are to be made at one establishment within a 90-day period, they must consult with a trade union or elected employee representatives for at least 30 day before the dismissals take place. If 100 or more redundancies are proposed within a 90-day period, then the consultation must begin at least 90 days before the dismissals take place.

You can bring a claim for up to 13 weeks’ pay (known as a ‘protective award’ if your employer fails to consult properly – and it may also mean any dismissals are unfair.

 

How could I be chosen for redundancy?

Your employer must first decide who is at risk of redundancy by identifying a ‘pool’ of employees to select from.

If your employer gets the pool wrong, by including or excluding the wrong people, your redundancy can be challenged as an unfair dismissal.

Once a pool is identified, the selection procedure from the pool should be as objective as possible. You and your colleagues at risk of redundancy will be scored against criteria. The lowest scorers would be those selected.

The selection procedure and criteria should be discussed with, and agreed with you or your representatives.

Each employee in the pool must be shown their scores and be given a chance to respond and challenge them if they are selected for redundancy.

If you think the process isn’t fair, the sooner you take expert advice from an employment law solicitor, the better. The earlier we are contacted, the more chance you have of not being selected in the first place.

Special rules apply and you have extra protection if you are on maternity leave.

 

Can I volunteer?

You can volunteer but your employer does not have to accept your application as you may have the skills and experience that they want to retain.

Some employers will offer an enhanced package to encourage people to apply for voluntary redundancy. Your employer will usually ask you to sign a Settlement Agreement to ensure you do not issue a claim in an Employment Tribunal once you have received the improved exit payment.

You will need to take legal advice from a solicitor on the term of the Agreement before you get your money. We can advise you – and it shouldn’t cost you a penny as your employer will pay.

 

I have been selected for redundancy. Is that the end of it?

No. Your employer must consider whether there is any alternative employment for you before declaring you redundant, and if appropriate, offer the vacancy to you –  or at least an opportunity to apply for it.

The duty to look for alternative roles for you continues up to the day your employment ends.

If you start an alternative role it could be on a trial basis, depending on how different it is to the position from which you were made redundant. If the position isn’t reasonably suitable, you are still entitled to your redundancy pay.

Turning down an alternative role with your employer which is both reasonable and suitable for you could put your entitlement to redundancy pay at risk. Talk to us on 08000 614 631 before you make a decision.

If there aren’t any vacancies you are entitled to a reasonable amount of paid time off to attend interviews.

 

How much redundancy pay will I receive?

If you have at least two continuous years’ employment, you will be entitled to at least a statutory redundancy payment. Exactly how much you get will depend on how old you are, how long you have been there and what your gross weekly wage is.

You should receive:

  • ½ week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re under 22
  • 1 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re between 22 and 41
  • 1 ½ week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re 41 or older

A week’s gross pay is currently capped at £508.

You should also be entitled to contractual notice or a payment in lieu of notice though it depends on what your contract says.

Some employers may have a more generous scheme.

If you haven’t been paid your statutory redundancy pay, you have six months to start the claims process. If you are owed notice pay or benefits, it is just three months (less one day).

 

I have been unfairly selected for redundancy. What next?

You can challenge your dismissal in two ways. The first is that you were dismissed for some other reason – that there was not a genuine redundancy situation. In effect, the redundancy was a sham. The second is that your employer failed to consult properly, or selected you unfairly or didn’t offer you alternative employment when it was available.

We have years of experience helping clients overturn dismissals on appeal – though in practice, it is very difficult for an employer to admit they are wrong – especially when they will have to dismiss someone instead of you whom they have already told is safe.

If you have been dismissed and it is not practical for you to return, we can work on negotiating a settlement as an alternative to issuing a claim in an Employment Tribunal.

If you have been unfairly dismissed you only have a limited amount of time in which to act to preserve your employment rights. You need to have been employed for at least two years or have been selected for redundancy for one of the automatically unfair reasons such as discrimination. You will have three months (less one day) to have taken steps to issue a claim by starting the mandatory Acas Early Conciliation process. We can take care of the notification for you.

 

What do I do now?

This is where we come in. Employment law is all we do.

It can often feel like your employer holds all the power.  They will likely have experienced HR professionals or a solicitor working in the background.  That’s why you need the best support and advice available.  You need a specialist employment lawyer – one who will push for the best outcome for you.

We understand how it feels. We have helped hundreds of employees and because we act for businesses too, we know the tactics you’re likely to face from your employer.  We know every trick in the book.

You only have a limited amount of time to take action to preserve your employment rights – usually just three months (less one day) from the date your employment ends.

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We’d like to talk to you to see what we can do to help, so please either call us anytime for free on 08000 614 631, email us or use the online form.

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