Our team of specialist redundancy solicitors have many years of experience advising employees facing individual and collective redundancies.
Expertise you can rely on
We’re very familiar with how to challenge selection for redundancy, as well as the tactics required to maximise redundancy compensation pay. Our employment law solicitors can support you through each step of the redundancy process to minimise stress and uncertainty and to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Redundancy: the law
If you’re facing redundancy, it’s essential that you’re aware of your legal rights. These may include the right to redundancy pay, a notice period, a consultation with your employer, the option to transfer to a different job or time off to search for a new job. In addition, you must be selected for redundancy in a way that’s fair.
Below are some of the key rights you should know about.
Your employer is legally required to use an objective and fair selection process for redundancy. Examples of this might include asking for volunteers or examining disciplinary records or worker appraisal markings. Your employer can’t select you on the basis of discrimination, for example because of your age, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, race, disability, religious beliefs, membership of a trade union, maternity or paternity leave, pregnancy, working pattern or whistleblowing.
If you think you’ve been selected unfairly, you should write to your employer outlining the reasons. You may also want to take a case of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal.
Bear in mind that if your job no longer exists, your employer doesn’t have to follow a selection process, but may still be required to consult with you. This may be the case if your employer’s closing down an entire operation within the company and making a large number of workers in it redundant.
Normally, you’re entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you’re an employee and you’ve worked for your employer for a period of two years or more. However, you’re not entitled to statutory redundancy pay if your employer makes an offer to keep you on or suggests suitable alternative work that you refuse without providing a good reason.
Under the law, your employer must give you a notice period before your redundancy comes into effect. The statutory notice periods are as follows:
- At least a week if you’ve worked for your employer for between one month and two years
- One week’s notice for each year if you’ve been employed for between two and 12 years
- 12 weeks’ notice if you’ve been employed for 12 years or more
Your employment contract may specify more than this statutory minimum, but it can’t specify less. Your contract may state that your employment can be ended without notice if ‘payment in lieu of notice’ is provided instead.
You’re entitled to consultation with your employer if you’re going to be made redundant. This consultation covers why the decision has been taken to make you redundant and whether there may be any alternatives to this route. If you feel your employer hasn’t consulted you properly, you may be able take your case to an employment tribunal.
In collective redundancy situations (where 20 or more workers are losing their jobs simultaneously), the consultation should involve your employer and an employee representative. This could be a trade union rep or an elected employee rep. Collective consultations must include discussion of the reasons for the redundancies, ways to avoid or minimise the job losses and how to limit the effects for workers (for example by providing retraining opportunities).
Suitable alternative employment
If your employer offers you suitable alternative employment and you turn it down unreasonably, you might lose your right to statutory redundancy pay. However, if the role you were offered wasn’t actually suitable for you, you can make a claim at an employment tribunal.
Time off to search for a job
If you’ve worked for your employer for two continuous years when your notice period comes to an end, you’re also permitted to take a reasonable amount of time off in order to seek other work or arrange training that will help you to find another role. The amount of time you can take offer will depend on your individual circumstances, but only has to pay you 40% of one week’s earnings for this time.
Standing up for your rights
Facing redundancy, or the threat of being made redundant, can be extremely stressful. Especially if you’ve worked for an organisation for a long time and the prospect of redundancy comes as a surprise to you. It’s therefore vital that you go into the redundancy process feeling confident that it’s being conducted in a fair and proper manner.
At Slater and Gordon, we advise employees on their rights in these circumstances and consider whether correct procedure is adhered to, including whether the redundancy selection is fair, whether there’s been sufficient consultation, and if opportunities for appropriate alternative work have been provided.
Redundancies caused by business transfers
If a business transfer such as a merger or acquisition has led to the redundancy, special rules may be applicable that protect your employment. Our solicitors know how to apply these rules to enhance your position.
Understanding your rights under TUPE isn’t easy as this area of employment law is complex. Our solicitors will offer you clear advice to help protect your rights if your employment is transferred to a new employer.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers can also advise you on the compensation you may be entitled to if you’re facing redundancy. We’ll take your individual circumstances into account in order to negotiate a more favourable termination package.
We offer expert legal advice on compromise / settlement agreements, which are often used by employers to finalise severance deals with employees. If negotiated effectively, these agreements can be an extremely effective way to ensure you’re suitably compensated for the termination of your employment without having to take legal action. It’s therefore well worth seeking expert legal advice on this topic.
Contact us for more details and we’ll be happy to help you.
Guides to redundancy and collective redundancy
Our employment lawyers have prepared two legal advice guides to help you understand more about your legal rights and redundancy. See Redundancy & Your Rights and Collective Redundancies & Your Rights for further details.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the UK's largest and best known employment law firms with offices across the UK. Many of our employment solicitors are members of the Employment Lawyers Association.
For an initial consultation, call us on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online.