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What are my rights as an employee when facing redundancy?

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In our current climate, businesses are having to make the difficult decisions to make their employees redundant in light of having to reduce their size, restructure, close or as the furlough scheme comes to an end.  As an employee, it is important that you understand your rights if you have been told that your role is at risk of redundancy.  Our Employment Law team explain the rights that you have in this situation, and advise how we can assist you should you feel that these rights have not been met.

If you have been told that your role may be made redundant, you have a right to be treated fairly during the redundancy process. This includes:

  • a fair selection process,
  • consultation, and
  • a notice period.

If your employer fails to meet these requirements, you may have a claim for unfair dismissal if you have over two years service with your employer.

Redundancy is a form of dismissal when your employer needs to reduce their workforce.  It is not the same as being dismissed for misconduct or poor performance.  Your employer must use objective criteria and a fair process to determine which jobs they will eliminate, which you have a right to know more about the process.

You are protected from being made redundant on the basis of a protected characteristic. These protected characteristics are:

  • age,
  • disability,
  • gender reassignment,
  • marriage and civil partnership,
  • pregnancy and maternity,
  • race,
  • religion,
  • sex,
  • sexual orientation.

Your employer can make employees redundant without a selection process if they are closing down an entire operation of the business and everyone in that department will be made redundant.  You may also be made redundant without a fair selection process if your employer becomes insolvent.

Redundancy notice period

You are entitled to receive the notice period outlined in your contract of employment.  The statutory minimum notice periods your employer must provide are:

  • at least one week’s notice if employed between one month and 2 years
  • one week’s notice for each year if employed between 2 and 12 years
  • 12 weeks’ notice if employed for 12 years or more.

You should check your contract of employment to see what your notice period is as some employers may give more than the statutory minimum.  You have a right to be paid through your notice period or receive a payment in lieu of notice if your employer requires you to stop work before the end of your notice period.

Redundancy consultation

All employees have a right to receive a consultation within a reasonable time before being given notice of redundancy.  If your employer is making 20 or more redundancies, collective redundancy rules apply, which carry strict requirements for the length of the consultation process.  At the consultation your employer should discuss with you why you are being made redundant, possible alternatives to redundancy, and how they can reduce any hardship. You should be given the opportunity to make alternative suggestions to your employer and they should consider these alternatives to redundancy. You may ask to be accompanied by a trade union or employee representative.

At the end of any process for redundancy you should also be given the opportunity to appeal against the outcome if you wish.  You may have a claim for unfair dismissal if your employer fails to consult with you before making you redundant or if they do not allow you an opportunity to appeal against the outcome.  

Alternative employment and redundancy

Your employer should offer you ‘suitable alternative employment’ if they have a position available.  A position may be considered ‘suitable’ if it requires similar skills and offers similar pay and benefits. You may have a claim for unfair dismissal if your employer has a suitable alternative position and does not offer it to you.

If you are offered suitable alternative employment and turn it down without good reason, you may lose your right to statutory redundancy pay.

Time off to find a new job

If you have been continuously employed for at least two years you will have the right to paid time off to look for a new job, attend interviews, and arrange training.  Your employer has to pay up to 40% of a week’s pay to cover this time off, and you may be able to take additional unpaid time off as well, which should be discussed and agreed with your employer.

Redundancy Pay

If you have been continuously employed for at least two years you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay.  The statutory minimum you are entitled to is:

  • half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22
  • one week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41
  • one and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

The length of service is capped at 20 years.

As of 6 April 2020, the weekly pay is capped at £538 and the maximum statutory redundancy pay an employee can receive is £16,140.

Redundancy pay is in addition to notice pay and payment for any accrued but untaken holiday time.

Your employer has many obligations to ensure that the redundancy process is fair on all affected employees.  If your employer fails to meet any of the above obligations, you may be able to bring an Employment Tribunal claim.  If you have been notified that your role is at risk of redundancy, or you feel that your employer has not followed a fair procedure, you can contact us today to discuss your situation on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.