Our trainee solicitor for EmploymentAndrew Rees, looks at the five things you need to know if you are going through a redundancy procedure

As an employee facing redundancy, you have the right to be completely satisfied that the redundancy procedure being followed by your employer is both fair and in line with your contract of employment and legal rights. Here are five things you need to be aware of;

1) There must be a “redundancy” situation

For your employer to dismiss you by reason of redundancy, your dismissal must be caused by one of the following three situations;

  • the closure, or the intended closure, of the business you are employed by;
  • the closure, or the intended closure, of your place of work;
  • a reduced requirement for employees to carry out your role at your place of work.

Unless one of the above scenarios exists, you cannot be made redundant.

2) The redundancy process must be fair

This means that your employer must act reasonably in dismissing you in consideration of all the circumstances. For example, your employer will need to identify an appropriate group of people who may potentially be made redundant, consult with all individuals within that group, assess each person within the group against objective selection criteria to identify who should be made redundant and consider suitable alternative employment, where appropriate.

Importantly, the consultation process should provide you with all the information you need about the redundancy as well as the opportunity to ask questions. The consultation can be done as a group (i.e. involving union or elected employee representatives) or on an individual basis. The type and timing of the consultation will depend on the number of people being made redundant.

You also have the right not to be selected for redundancy on certain grounds. These grounds include your refusal to work on a Sunday, being an employee representative, that you are pregnant or because you have raised health and safety issues. If you’re selected for redundancy because of one or more of these grounds, the dismissal is likely to be automatically unfair.

3) You have a right to a minimum notice period

All employees have the right to be given notice of their dismissal. The length of notice should be specified in your contract. If it is not, the statutory minimum notice period will apply and will range between 1-12 weeks depending on how long you have been working for your employer. You may be required to ‘work’ your notice either by attending work as usual or by being placed on ‘garden leave’ (which means that you don’t have to attend work but remain employed until your notice ends). Alternatively, you may be given a lump sum representing the pay you would have received during your notice period and your employment will come to an immediate end.

If you have been employed for at least 2 years, you are entitled to time off from work in order to look for a new job or arrange training for new employment. Your employer must pay you up to 40% of your normal weekly pay to cover this.

4) You are entitled to a redundancy payment 

If you have been employed for 2 years or more, you are entitled to receive a statutory redundancy payment. The amount of your statutory redundancy payment is calculated by reference to your weekly pay, your length of service and your age.  You can calculate your statutory redundancy payment here.

Alternatively, you may be entitled to an enhanced redundancy payment and this will either be set out in your contract of employment or your employer’s redundancy policy.

5) Consider raising a grievance

If you have concerns about the redundancy procedure being implemented or believe that you may have been treated unfairly, it is advisable that you raise a grievance with your employer in writing at the soonest opportunity. If after the grievance you still feel that you have not been treated fairly, you may be able to challenge your dismissal at an Employment Tribunal.

Also, make sure you don’t leave without…..

  • your redundancy payment and all other payments due to you when your employment ends such as payment for any accrued but untaken holidays;
  • a letter confirming the date you were made redundant and a statement showing how your redundancy payment was calculated;
  • your P45 and details of your pension rights.

Your employer may want you to sign a settlement agreement as part of the redundancy process. This is particularly common where you are entitled to an enhanced redundancy payment. If you are offered a settlement agreement, it is essential you take impartial advice to ensure the agreement is satisfactorily beneficial to you – please speak to one of our legal advisers for more information here.

Unfortunately, owing to the uncertainty within the post-Brexit economy redundancies may be on the rise as companies cut back on staff or move their operations outside of the UK. Understanding your legal and contractual rights will put you in a stronger position when either negotiating a settlement or ensuring that you are treated fairly and receive your legal entitlements.