What are my redundancy rights?
Being informed that you’re being made redundant, or are at risk of redundancy, can be stressful and emotional. Whether you’ve been in the job for five months or five years, knowing your legal rights when it comes to redundancy can help you through the process and provide some peace of mind.
Our employment law solicitors look at redundancy and employees’ rights, and answer some frequently asked questions.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is where you are dismissed from your job. It is usually due to an employer needing to reduce their workforce, and there are times when the risk is higher, such as during recession or, as we’ve learnt recently, a pandemic.
If you find yourself facing redundancy, there are certain things that you may be eligible for. All of which your employer has a responsibility to discuss with you. These include redundancy pay, a consultation period and the option to move into a different role, to name a few.
Who can be made redundant?
Employees must be selected for redundancy in a fair and transparent way. For example, your capability to do the job you’ve been employed to do.
You cannot be made redundant because of your age, gender, disability, or if you’re pregnant. If you are selected for redundancy because of any of these, this is unfair dismissal and you should talk to a specialist employment solicitor as soon as possible.
What is the redundancy procedure?
Employers must follow certain procedures when making an employee redundant. If you are being made redundant (or at risk of), your employer must consult you in advance. They must give you appropriate notice and agree a leaving date.
You should be given at least the statutory notice period, based on how long you have worked for that employer; this is usually specified in your employment contract but as a guide:
- One month to two years: notice period is at least a week
- Two to 12 years: one week’s notice for every year employed
- 12 years or more: 12 weeks
In some cases, employers will offer voluntary redundancy or the opportunity to job share. You could also be given the opportunity to take on a role elsewhere in the business.
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.
Do I need a settlement agreement?
If you’re made redundant, your employer may offer you a settlement agreement. This finalises your severance package.
Before you sign any agreement, it’s essential that you get a specialist redundancy solicitor to review it. Once you sign that agreement, you give up your right to bring to an employment-related claim against your employer.
An employment lawyer can review the severance package you’ve been offered and highlight any issues. Our specialist solicitors will also advise if we think we can negotiate a better redundancy package for you, and outline next steps.
What redundancy pay will I get?
You will be entitled to statutory redundancy (the payment employers are legally required by the government to make to qualifying employees) pay if:
- You’ve been continuously employed by your employer for two years or more
- You have lost your job due to a genuine need to make redundancies
- You are classed as an employee (including part-time employees)
However, it’s worth noting that you could lose your right to statutory redundancy pay if you turn down an offer of alternative employment by your employer without good reason, you leave before the set date, or your employment is terminated due to gross misconduct.
Employers sometimes offer an enhanced package, meaning you will receive an additional payment above statutory redundancy pay. Some employees will have details of an enhanced redundancy package within their employment contract, so it’s worth checking that.
Redundancy pay is calculated based on your earnings, length of service, and age. You can read more about the exact pay entitlements here.
Can I be made redundant while on maternity leave?
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.
If you believe your employer has made you redundant due to your pregnancy or maternity leave, you may have grounds for an unfair discrimination claim.
Can I appeal against redundancy?
Yes, if you believe your employer’s reasons for selecting you were unfair or that they did not carry out a fair redundancy process.
In the first instance, you should discuss your concerns with your employer 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 should refer the claim to Acas for early conciliation before doing so.
If you have been placed at risk of redundancy or have been made redundant, and you wish to discuss your options further, our specialist employment lawyers are here to help.