Yunus Lunat, head of employment at Ison Harrison Solicitors, provides a helpful guide to dealing with redundancy
I’ve been made redundant. What should I do?
Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. Usually this happens in circumstances where the employer closes a particular office or workplace, where there is a downturn in work available and so there is too many staff to do the work that is required, or even when the business closes down entirely. You should look at the reasons given for the redundancy and the process that has been followed. If you believe you have been selected unfairly for redundancy, or you believe the redundancy is not genuine, then you should seek legal advice.
What are my rights?
If you have worked with your employer for two years or more, you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. You may also be entitled to a notice period, a consultation with your employer, an option to move to a different job, or reasonable time off to seek a new job.
Should my employer have offered me an alternative role in the business before making me redundant?
If one exists, then an employer should offer a suitable alternative role. If you have not been offered suitable alternative role then you could make an unfair dismissal claim. If there is only one suitable alternative role, and there are two or more people being made redundant, then your employer may require you to apply for the role and undergo a competitive selection process. Those on maternity leave take priority and employers are required to offer this role to women on maternity leave and they should not be obliged to go through a competitive process.
I have some company equipment. How do I return it? Is there a time limit for doing this?
You must return this to your employer as soon as is reasonably practicable, especially if the equipment has sensitive personal data on it (such as a laptop). You can return it in person or in the post, but it is recommended that it is sent via tracked recorded delivery so it can be tracked and receipt can be confirmed. It is not unusual for the employer to require you to hand in your equipment on your last day.
How is redundancy pay calculated?
It is based on your length of service (up to 20 years), your weekly gross salary (up to the statutory cap—in March 2019, this was £508), and your age.
I’ve been in my job for more than 10 years. What sort of redundancy package can I expect?
It is up to your employer as to whether they offer you an enhanced redundancy based on your length of service. Your company’s redundancy policy can usually be found in your employee handbook or on your intranet. If your employer offers enhanced redundancy, you should receive this. If it does not, then they are only obliged to pay you the statutory minimum.
Will I lose my redundancy if I get a new job?
No, as long as you do not resign before you are made redundant. You will lose your redundancy if you unreasonably reject an offer of a suitable alternative role.
Can a woman be made redundant during maternity leave?
Yes. However, an employer cannot select them for redundancy by reason of their maternity leave. In addition, they must offer any suitable alternative role to the employee on maternity leave and cannot require the employee on maternity leave to undergo a competitive selection process for a suitable alternative role. If there are more than one employee who has been made redundant, the employee on maternity leave should be prioritised and given the suitable alternative role.
How much notice does the company have to give for redundancy?
Employers must, as a minimum, give you your statutory notice period for making you redundant. If your contractual notice period is longer, then they must provide you with your contractual notice period.
Do I have to work my notice if I am made redundant?
Yes, unless you have made other arrangements with your employer. You should be allowed to take reasonable time off during your notice period to look for new employment.
Will my employer still give me a reference?
Yes. Redundancy is not the fault of the employee, and therefore an employer will usually still give a reference.
How soon after making someone redundant can my employer recruit new staff?
There are no obligations on employers to wait any period of time before recruiting anyone else. If there is a sudden turn in the economy, it could require them to recruit someone. An employer is not obliged to re-engage or re-instate a redundant employee, although they may wish to. However, if there are doubts as to the legitimacy of the redundancy, this could be used as evidence.
Any other advice?
Tribunals are often not quick to criticise the redundancy process, so it can be very difficult to make a claim. Make sure to gather as much evidence on any wrongdoing as you can and ensure that you make notes of every incident that may be of relevance so that you can prove your claim.