Have You Been Made Redundant?
Being made redundant is difficult and stressful. Unfortunately, in the current financial climate, redundancy is all too common. That said, the picture isn’t totally bleak – you do have some rights in redundancy under employment law in the UK. Our employment lawyers based in London can help you navigate the complex legal issues and represent you with any action against your employer, including employment tribunal representation. We can also advise businesses as employers, including company directors, throughout the redundancy process and indeed with other aspects of employment law. The following are some brief notes on the most important considerations.
If fewer than 20 employees are to be made redundant, each employee has the right to an individual consultation. This gives employees the chance to have an input in the redundancy process. During this process, your employer should give you reasons why you have been selected for redundancy and allow you to explore with them the alternatives to redundancy. These can include:
- Reduced working hours
- Flexible working arrangements
If you are denied this consultation, or you do not offer it as an employer, any redundancy may amount to unfair dismissal.
If the redundancy involves more than 20 employees, then the employees are entitled to have their representatives (such as a trade union official) consulted on their behalf. If this consultation is not offered then the aggrieved employees may be able to take their employer to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Redundancy and Fairness
When selecting employees for redundancy, the decision, and the process which informs it, must be fair. What is or is not fair is based on an assessment of the needs of the business. Again, failure to observe this procedure may give rise to a claim for unfair dismissal.
During the redundancy process, an employer may take into account the skills and work history of the employees in the frame for redundancy with particular focus on:
- The employee’s disciplinary record
- The employee’s experience in the role
- The employee’s skills and competencies
- The employee’s ability in the role
On the flipside, an employer cannot take into account any personal characteristics in making their decision.
- Sexual orientation
- Religious belief
- Working pattern (e.g. part-time employees)
- Membership of a Trade Union.
If the decision is based on any of these factors then the dismissal is automatically unfair.
Notice and Redundancy
Employees are entitled to notice if they are to be made redundant. The periods are as follows:
- 1 week notice for employment of a period longer than one month, but less than two years.
- One additional week for every year between 2-12 years
- 12 weeks if the employee has been employed for more than 12 years.
In some situations, your employer may choose to give payment in lieu of notice. This payment should at least match the pay you would receive during the notice period.
It may be trite, but it’s true to say that a person is not made redundant per se; it is the role which is no longer required. In some cases, employees are entitled to financial compensation if their role is no longer required. This is known as redundancy pay and falls into two categories: statutory redundancy pay and contractual redundancy pay.
Redundancy pay is calculated based upon your age, your weekly earnings (up to a limit) and how long you have been employed. Some employers may offer more generous packages in some situations.
Qualification for Statutory Redundancy Pay.
To qualify for statutory redundancy in the UK, the employee must have worked for the same employer for a period of at least two calendar years since turning sixteen years of age.
Those on short-term contracts may not qualify, although some freelance and agency employees may.
Statutory redundancy pay can be forfeited in some cases. If the employee refuses a suitable alternative job offer or leaves to take up alternative employment before the date of redundancy, then that employee may forfeit their redundancy pay.
Contractual Redundancy Pay
Some employment contracts may set out the amount of compensation which is payable in the event of redundancy. Employees should check their contract to determine whether or not contractual redundancy pay is included. Employers should take legal advice when drawing up contracts of employment.
Payment of Redundancy Pay & Claiming Redundancy Pay
Employers are obliged to provide employees with written breakdowns of how their redundancy pay has been calculated. Payment should be made on or shortly after the date at which the employment ends.
As an employee, you should not have to raise a claim for payment of redundancy pay – it should be paid automatically. If you are entitled to redundancy pay and you have not been paid within a reasonable time, you should write to your employer within 6 months of the date your employment ends (note that you should write within 3 months if you intend to raise another conjoined claim, such as for unfair dismissal). If an employer is refusing to pay, or has not paid, your redundancy pay, contact Lewis Nedas Law immediately.
Contact our Employment Lawyers for Redundancy Legal Advice Today
If you are an employee who has been made redundant and you are not sure of your rights, or if you are an employer who may have to make employees redundant, contact Lewis Nedas Law today Call us on 02073872032 or complete our online enquiry form