Being made redundant, or even just being placed at risk of redundancy, can be hugely stressful, especially if it’s come as a surprise to you. Knowing your legal rights can give you peace of mind as well as helping you to get the best available settlement if you are made redundant.
Our redundancy expertise
At Barcan+Kirby, our Employment Law solicitors regularly advise employees on every stage of the redundancy process. Whether you think you might be at risk of redundancy, need to take part in negotiations or wish to challenge a redundancy you feel was unfair, we have the practical expertise you need to secure a fair outcome.
Our employment lawyers know that redundancy can be an uncomfortable process, creating huge uncertainty and low morale. This is often fuelled by common misconceptions about employee rights and the processes involved.
For example, have you heard the saying ‘last in, first out’? Or that your employer can force you to retire at 65? Both are myths and your employer is responsible for ensuring that they conduct redundancy procedures in a clear and fair manner.
By providing clear guidance on your rights, combined with sympathetic personal support, our expert redundancy solicitors can make dealing with redundancy much less painful and more productive for you.
Our employment lawyers work with employees all over the UK from our six offices spread across Bristol and the surrounding area in Bedminster, Bishopston, Clifton, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury.
Book an appointment with our redundancy solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire
We offer a fixed-fee initial consultation with one of our specialist employment law solicitors at a reduced rate. We will talk to you about your personal circumstances, offer some initial advice and provide an estimate of costs.
Our redundancy advice for employees
Advising you on your redundancy rights
If you are facing redundancy, we can advise you on your rights, including:
- Your entitlement to statutory redundancy pay
- Whether the reasons for your redundancy are lawful
- The possibility of securing an enhanced redundancy package
- What to do if you feel your employer is treating you unfairly
Advice on settlement agreements
If you are offered a settlement agreement as part of your redundancy, it is important to have this independently reviewed by an employment expert. Not only is this a requirement for the agreement to be legally binding, it also ensures that you get the best possible deal from your employer.
Our employment lawyers can:
- Review any settlement agreement your employer offers
- Advise on whether we believe a better settlement is possible
- Represent you during settlement negotiations
TUPE or ‘the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)’ regulations apply to any situation where an employee’s job is transferred to a new company.
Our employment lawyers have experience with TUPE matters, and can therefore assist with:
- Advising on whether you will be covered by TUPE
- Advising you on whether to accept a transfer
- Protecting the terms and conditions of your employment
If you believe you have been treated unfairly during redundancy, we can assist with disputes over matters including:
- The level of redundancy pay you have received
- Non-payment of statutory redundancy pay
- The reasons for your selection
- Unfair carrying out of the process
The cost of our advice will depend on the circumstances. For some matters, such as reviewing a settlement agreement, we may be able to act on a fixed-fee basis. In such cases, your employer may fund the cost of your legal representation.
Where you need ongoing legal advice and representation, e.g. for making an employment tribunal claim, our solicitors will normally charge an agreed hourly rate based on the level of expertise required.
Find out more about our employment law pricing.
Employers must follow certain procedures when an employee is made redundant. If your role has been selected as at risk of redundancy, you should be notified by your employer in advance. You may be offered voluntary redundancy, or the opportunity to job share. You could also be deployed elsewhere in the business.
Remember, if you have at least two years’ continuous employment at the point you’re made redundant, you’re legally entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.
If you’re made redundant, you could be offered a settlement agreement (previously called a compromise agreement). This will finalise your severance package.
It’s essential that any agreement is checked by a specialist redundancy solicitor, as signing a settlement agreement means giving up your right to bring to an employment-related claim against your employer.
We’ll review the package you’ve been offered, highlight any issues and look at whether you’re likely to find a similar role soon. If we think we can negotiate a better redundancy package for you and your circumstances, we’ll talk to you about the next steps.
Statutory redundancy pay is the payment employers are legally required to make to qualifying employees. The rate of statutory redundancy pay qualifying employees are entitled to is set by the government.
Some employers will also offer an enhanced redundancy package meaning you can receive an additional payment above and beyond statutory redundancy pay or that you may receive a payment even if you do not qualify for statutory redundancy.
You will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if:
- You have been continuously employed by your employer for two years or more
- You lost your job due to a genuine need to make redundancies
- You are classed as an employee (including part-time employees)
However, you could lose your right to statutory redundancy pay if:
- You turn down an offer from your employer of a suitable alternative job without good reason
- You leave before your job is due to end (e.g. because you have found a new job)
- You are sacked for gross misconduct before your job ends
Any statutory redundancy payment you are entitled to will be based on:
- Your earnings before tax (gross earnings)
- How long you have worked for your employer
- Your age during your employment
You will be entitled to:
- Five weeks’ pay for each full year you worked for your employer where you were under the age of 22
- One week’s pay for each full year you worked for your employer where you were aged 22-41
- Five weeks’ pay for each full year you worked for your employer where you were aged 41 or older
The maximum you can claim is £538 per week up to a total of £16,140 and the length of service is capped at 20 years.
You can use the government’s redundancy pay calculator to see exactly how much you may be entitled to.
Any redundancy payment up to £30,000 is tax-free. Non-cash benefits included as part of your redundancy package (e.g. a company car of computer) will count towards this total.
Any holiday pay owed, unpaid wages, bonuses and overtime payments will all be taxed as normal wages, even if they are paid after your employment has ended.
There is no set time limit for an employer to make a redundancy payment, but they should not unreasonably delay payment and usually we would expect it to be sent to you within three to six weeks of leaving your employment.
If you are unhappy with the amount of a statutory redundancy payment or you have not received a payment you are entitled to, you will have six months from the date of the termination of your employment to make a claim.
Unless it is specified in your contract, you will not be entitled to an enhanced redundancy package. However, there are various reasons an employer might offer an enhanced package which might give you room for negotiation, including:
- To reward loyalty and length of service
- As a payment in lieu of notice (where your employer wishes to place you on ‘garden leave’ rather than have you work out your notice)
- Where the reasons for the redundancy could be considered questionable (in which case the enhanced package would normally be conditional on you signing a settlement agreement)
Yes, an employer can make you redundant while you are pregnant or on maternity leave, as long as the reason for the redundancy is unconnected to this.
As with any other employee being made redundant, your employer will need to consult you about the possibility of redundancy and offer you suitable alternative employment where available.
If you believe your employer has targeted you for redundancy due to your pregnancy or because you are on maternity leave, you may have grounds for an unlawful discrimination claim.
If you are made redundant due to your employer becoming insolvent, you will be treated as a ‘preferential creditor’. This means that, if the company is liquidated, paying you any outstanding wages, redundancy entitlements etc. will be given a high priority.
Where there are not sufficient funds to pay you what you are owed, you may also be able to apply to the government for a redundancy payment, as well as unpaid wages, holiday pay, overtime, commission and pay in lieu of notice.
In most cases, there will be no restriction on when you can take up new employment after being made redundant. However, it is worth checking whether you can take up any job after your leave because a lot of employment contracts contain restrictive covenants which attempt to restrict future employment, eg: for a competitor.
However, where you are offered an enhanced redundancy package, you may be asked to agree not to take alternative employment for a set time after being made redundant. This is usually because your previous employer believes your knowledge or skills would be useful to a rival firm.
You have the right to appeal being made redundant if you believe your employer’s reasons for selecting you were unfair or that they did not carry out a fair redundancy process.
Before making a claim, you should first discuss your concerns with your employer and give them the opportunity to clarify their reasons and try to resolve the situation amicably.
Your employer will need to accept or reject your appeal in writing. If they reject your appeal or fail to respond, you can then take your claim forward to an employment tribunal. However, you may need to refer the claim to Acas first for early conciliation.
If you believe you have been treated unfair during redundancy, our expert employment lawyers can advise and represent you to help you get a fair outcome as quickly and simply as possible.
Why choose Barcan+Kirby’s employment lawyers for redundancy advice?
Our employment lawyers in Bristol are highly experienced in advising employees with every aspect of redundancy. We have supported clients through every stage and can provide clear, practical guidance to help you get the best settlement available, or to challenge an unfair redundancy where required.
Our team benefits from the expertise of a number of highly talented individuals, including Partners Samantha Castle and James Bell and Associate Nick Howell. Samantha is also a member of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA), reflecting her high level of expertise in dealing with a wide range of employment law matters, including redundancy.
Barcan+Kirby is Lexcel accredited by the Law Society for the high standards of our legal practice and independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).