Your rights when being made redundant
Recession is a time for downsizing, right sizing, de-layering and all these lead to redundancies. Even in a boom, redundancies can accompany a merger or take-over. In recent times, we can see an alarming trend of mass redundancies. Not even the best employees may avoid this peril. But there are ways by which this nightmare can be reduced as much as possible. Always deliver your best, be friendly with everybody, especially your superiors and avoid unnecessary gossip at all times.
Redundancy is different from being fired (dismissed) since:
- Dismissal: is when the employer needs to get rid of you, and
- Redundancy: is when the job for which you were hired for remains no longer.
Dismissal can either be fair or unfair. It's fair if you have earned it (by wrongful or prohibited activities like stealing for example) or unfair (sacked for a racist or sexist reason. In any case, there is a fair a lawful procedure to follow.
Redundancy is different. (Strictly speaking, redundancy is a fair reason for dismissal, but as the legal requirements are different to other forms of dismissal it is helpful to distinguish between the two.) Redundancy happens when an employer reduces their workforce.
In this article we'll look at the fair method of redundancy and the payment and your rights when being made redundant.
Being redundant isn't at all the worst thing that can possibly happen, so no need to have sleepless nights over it. It may even be a door opener to what you always wanted to do. And you aren't leaving without anything at all when being made redundant.
Following is a list of possible reasons for redundancy according to the UK Employment Rights Act Section 139
- Technological innovation, machines can now do the work you did
- The job you were there to do ceases to exist
- There is desperate need to cut costs
- The business is shutting down or moving away
- Reorganization or reallocation of work. The business is going through a reorganization or reallocation of work which does not result in a direct reduction of employees. This could be because your employer is taking on new recruits for the new work orsome employees are being redeployed on new contracts with different terms and conditions, whilst others are made redundant.
Sometimes bumping (making someone else's job redundant and moving them to your place) also occurs, but employers may have a harder time trying to prove its fairness.
If more than 20 of your co-workers are being made redundant at the same time i.e. within a period of 90 days, then it is an example of collective redundancies.
Amongst other of your rights when being made redundant are that before taking such a step, the employer must contact and inform any representative those employees might have. It could even be a trade union official or any representative that the employee chooses to have him represented, like a lawyer for instance. If your employer fails to consult the representatives then a claim may be made to an Employment Tribunal for a protective award (a monetary award of up to 90 days pay).
In case the number of employees being made redundant is under 20, the following things must be kept in mind:
- The employer should select the employees that may stay on a strict merit - only basis
- The employer should warn and consult the employees about the possible redundancy, a notice should also be dispatched, and its length must depend on the time you have worked for that company.
- The employer or his associates must take any steps he possibly can to relocate the employees that have been rendered jobless, this offer must be made before the actual redundancy and should be equivalent to the old job's rewards and benefits.
- The employer must pay the employee his rightful redundancy pay or statutory redundancy pay, applies to all employees who have worked there for a period greater than 2 years and should be adjusted according to their tenure. It must also include any holiday pay that was due.
- All alternatives must be pondered upon before the employer takes this step.
Failing to keep these in mind may lead to a lot of legal difficulties for the employer, see below for a line that may help
Where to get help
08457 47 47 47
Open Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
If you are being denied your rights, talk to your employer first of all. If you have an employee representative (eg a trade union official), they also may be able to help. If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer's internal grievance procedure.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues. You can call the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47 from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.
And finally, tips for Filing A Redundancy Claim - Who Do You Turn To?
Redundancy claims can be made at the local employment tribunal, but your application for redundancy must reach the employment tribunal very early, within six months before the date that you are made redundant. Should you file for a complaint on unfair dismissal by your employer, your complaint must reach the tribunal within three months before the date of your termination. In very limited cases, exceptions are made and a person is allowed by the tribunal to file a late complaint if the tribunal finds your reason for the delay valid.
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"a company will get rid of the most expensive person in a group by weighting a subjective criteria heavily against that person. if you otherwise have a good work record, get them up in front of a tribunal."
unfairly selected brian