Is your employer’s need to reduce their overheads over your head?
Redundancy is a scary thought for most of us, but can be a little more manageable if you understand the process and you know what you may be entitled to.
These 7 ‘Be’s are your best bet for tackling an at-risk-of-redundancy-letter head-on.
1. Be Prepared - In order to stay on the right side of the law, your employer must consult with you about the proposed redundancy at its formative stage, not after decisions have been made. First, find out as much as you can about why they are making redundancies and why your role is at risk. Second, try and identify what it means for you, if you are selected. Your employment contract could possibly set out what you will be paid if you are made redundant. More commonly, your employer could have used a standard approach in the past to calculate redundancy pay. You may have an argument to be treated consistently with those that have gone before you. Failing that, you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay. This is based on your age, length of time at the company and weekly pay (to a maximum of £450). It is a modest amount unless you have very long service, but this is also capped at a maximum of 20 years.
2. Be Informed - Consultation is your opportunity to obtain the key information that you need. First, identify how many people are in the frame for redundancy as this informs the length of time your employer needs to consult before making decisions. If this does not happen you may be entitled to compensation. Second, identify who you are being considered alongside. This can be referred to as “the pool”. This might assist you to identify whether your selection seems flawed or possibly discriminatory). Third, identify how those in the pool will be whittled down to the people that are made redundant. Where more than one job/person is in the frame, your employer may use a scoring matrix to judge your value against others. The matrix typically can involve factors such as performance, skills and knowledge, attendance, length of service, disciplinary record etc). Understanding this will help you to argue why you should be kept on.
3. Be Involved - The consultation process is not just about listening but is your opportunity to make suggestions, such as abandoning overtime schemes, reducing hours, changing locations or ways of working to try and avoid your redundancy. Whilst it is your employer’s job to consider alternatives, if you are proposing them and they are not taking them seriously, they could have problems. You should try and identify other jobs you can do instead. Again, if you can identify these and your employer does not come up with any sound reasons as to why you cannot be transferred into those jobs, then again they may have difficulty justifying your redundancy.
4. TUPE or not to be? If the company you work for has recently changed hands then you may be protected from dismissal automatically unless the circumstances around the redundancy meet certain criteria. You should seek legal advice if this applies to you.
5. Be well advised - If you are a member of a union, your trade union reps will be a key source of advice and assistance and will likely already know details about the redundancy and have significant bargaining power with your employer. Remember that a collective voice is a strong one. If you do not have access to this support, you should seek legal advice. A lawyer will be able to help you understand and possibly mount a challenge to your redundancy where appropriate.
6. Be Proactive - If it looks as though your days are numbered you might be able to have early discussions with HR about going voluntarily to make doing a deal more attractive. This is a very risky approach and this should only be done on legal advice. In circumstances where you agree to leave, it is now reasonably standard for your employer to make a contribution to your legal fees.
7. Be Positive - Whilst easier said than done, remember that when one door closes, very often, another opens and there are people on hand to assist you through this process.