If you are made redundant and have at least two full years’ continuous service with your employer, you will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. You may also be entitled to an enhanced redundancy payment, so it is worth checking your employment contract and staff handbook to see if it there are any terms dealing with redundancy.
Redundancy is a potentially fair reason for your employer to terminate your employment. For a redundancy dismissal to be fair, your employer must:
- have a genuine redundancy situation for example a reduction in workload or a workplace closure;
- adopt a fair selection process and redundancy pool;
- carry out a consultation with affected employees about the risk of redundancy; and
- properly consider alternative employment opportunities or ways to avoid the redundancy.
If your employer fails to observe these basic requirements you may have a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal. Usually you will need a minimum of 2 years’ service with your employer to bring this type of claim. There are however, exceptions to this rule; for example, where you are selected for redundancy because of pregnancy or maternity. This would render your dismissal automatically unfair.
If you are selected for redundancy on the basis of a protected characteristic (race, sex, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief or age), then you may also have a discrimination claim. Employees affected by redundancy whilst on maternity leave are entitled to be offered any alternative roles ahead of other employees.
You may also be entitled to an extended period of redundancy consultation through appropriate representatives if you are one of 20 or more employees at one establishment being made redundant, this is known as collective consultation. If an employer fails to comply with collective redundancy obligations when required, each employee affected can claim up to 13 weeks’ pay in the Employment Tribunal.
There are other rights that flow from a redundancy situation, for example employees at risk of redundancy can look for alternative work during work time.
Your employer may offer you an enhanced redundancy package by way of a Settlement Agreement in return for signing away your statutory rights to bring any claims including for unfair dismissal. You will be required to seek legal advice on the Settlement Agreement, it is customary for employers to contribute towards these legal fees.
If you are presented with a Settlement Agreement or consider that you may have been made redundant unfairly, act promptly as there are very strict time limits of less than three months for presenting a tribunal claim.
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