Getting help and advice about your redundancy rights
You have the right under UK law: *
To be consulted prior to any redundancy action
To be offered any suitable alternative roles if they are available
To undergo a fair selection process to decide who is to be made redundant
To receive a minimum statutory redundancy payment
A redundancy situation is where the employer requires fewer employees or they are closing a specific workplace.
Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, it is likely that many employers will be making redundancies in the coming years. If the employer acts unfairly, or in a discriminatory way, in making redundancies there could be an unfair dismissal claim.
When a fixed-term contract comes to an end it can also be classed as a redundancy if the reason for the non-renewal of the contract is that there is no longer any need for an employee to do that work.
If your employer has no work for you then you may end up in a redundancy situation. If you have worked for at least two years then you will be entitled to redundancy pay. At the very minimum you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay which depends on your age and length of service. You will be entitled to your gross weekly pay, up to a maximum of £538 per week for each year of service up to a maximum of 20 years, with this rising to 1.5 weeks per year if you are over the age of 40. You may be entitled to more than this if this is within your employment contract.
If the employer becomes insolvent and cannot pay your redundancy payments, then there is national scheme which will pay some debts owed to the employee on redundancy, including the statutory redundancy payment, up to eight weeks’ arrears of pay, pay in lieu of statutory notice and any outstanding holiday pay.
Redundancy is a form of dismissal. There are many reasons for redundancy – for example, redundancies could happen : if your company is not making enough money so the boss must lay some people off; in public services, funding cuts may mean that there isn’t enough money in the budget, and so job losses occur; in the case of a company restructure, in which it is decided that certain posts or skills are no longer needed.
Generally, if you have been working for at least 2 years continuously for your employer, then your employer has to:
show why they believe it is reasonable to dismiss you
meet with you individually to discuss it
have a process of selecting you for redundancy, and explain to you how it works, how long it takes, what meetings you will need to be in and when, and how you can appeal the decision.
give a notice period
at the very minimum, ensure you get statutory redundancy pay
give you time off to look for another job or undertake training to help you find another job
If you think your employer’s reason for making you redundant is not genuine, or the process not fair, then you could claim unfair dismissal.
If your employer is contemplating making 20 or more people redundant then they must consult with a recognised Trade Union. If there is no recognised union at your workplace then the employer should consult an elected group of workers, specifically elected for this purpose.
Your employer can make redundancies while you are on maternity leave, but you cannot be made redundant because you are on maternity leave. If your post becomes redundant while you are on maternity leave, you must be offered a suitable alternative vacancy, which you do not have to interview for, and your employer must consult with you about the possible redundancy. If you do not accept a suitable vacancy, your employer can make you redundant.
If there is no suitable alternative vacancy, and your post really is redundant – for example a business is closing and the post no longer exists – your employer can make you redundant during maternity leave, but your redundancy can never be directly linked to your pregnancy or maternity leave and a fair process should be followed. Not doing so could lead to a claim of unfair dismissal.
There is a basic minimum redundancy payment which people are entitled to, and if you have been employed for 2 years or more with your employer, you are entitled to different amounts based on age:
If you are under 22 years old this is half a weeks’ pay for every year of service
If you are between 22 and 41 years old, this is a full weeks’ pay for every year of service
If you are over 41 years old, this is a week and a half pay for every year of service
It is important to know that you are not entitled to redundancy if you are offered an equivalent post to the one you are in and you turn it down without a valid reason.
Your union representative is your starting point for getting help from us with any problem at work.
Sometimes members feel that they can sort things out on their own, but it is important to talk to your union representative as soon as possible. Sometimes trying to sort out an issue without proper advice can make the problem much worse. We are here to help you and you can contact your union representative by calling 0333 2423 526.
Your union representative will discuss the situation with you, agree a way forward with you and together they will help you achieve the best possible outcome for you.
You have a legal right to belong to a trade union and your employer is forbidden from treating you unfavourably because you join a trade union, take part in trade union activities or use the services trade unions provide for their members. You also have a right to be accompanied by a trade union representative at any grievance meetings, disciplinary hearings and disciplinary appeals.
* From Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992) and Employment Rights (1998)