Palmer and Harvey employees have additional rights

Morrish SolicitorsEmployment, Site NewsLeave a Comment

Morrish Solicitors are offering assistance to ex-employees of Palmer and Harvey as a result of the organisation’s recent announcement that it has entered into administration.

Palmer and Harvey, a major wholesaler in the UK, made 2,500 employees redundant with immediate effect when they called in the administrators yesterday. They are the UK’s fifth largest privately-owned firm, and delivered more than 12,000 products, including food and alcohol. It is understood that they were hit by challenging trading conditions in recent months and efforts to restructure the business were unsuccessful.

With mass redundancies having been made, financial hardship is inevitable. Ex-employees should be aware of their additional rights to compensation. If you were made redundant with immediate effect, you might have a claim for something called a Protective Award, in addition to redundancy entitlements.

A company is under a duty to give advance notice and consult with staff representatives for a minimum of 30 days where it proposes to dismiss 20 or more employees at one workplace within a 90 day period. Companies are legally obliged to tell employee representatives what is happening, tell them that redundancies are looking likely and consult with them about ways of avoiding redundancies, keep numbers to a minimum and/or mitigate the effects.

If this does not happen, employees may be able to make a claim in an Employment Tribunal for up to 3 months’ pay for a Protective Award – essentially a penalty for the failure to comply with its obligations. This compensation payment is payable in addition to redundancy pay, notice pay and other basic entitlements. If a company is insolvent, the Government Insolvency Service will guarantee up to 8 weeks of the value of a Protective Award claim, subject to any deductions (but they will only pay this if they have an Employment Tribunal Judgment ordering a Protective Award to be paid).

Kamran Sadiq, Employment Solicitor at Morrish Solicitors, said: “When something like this happens, it is a huge shock. People have been treated appallingly and will no doubt be worried about paying their bills and how they are going to secure other work in a very competitive environment. We want people to know that there is another route to gaining compensation for what has happened. Whilst we cannot recover all of the financial loss people have suffered, a protective award claim could go some way towards it.”

Employees should note that there is a general time limit of 3 months (less one day) from the date of the act complained of to bring most types of claims in the Employment Tribunals, subject to any extension by way of use of the ACAS Early Conciliation process. We are unable to give more detailed advice about time limits at this stage but employees should have regard to them. If missed, an employee will automatically be prevented from pursuing a claim.

If you require help, please contact Morrish Solicitors at [email protected] or call them on 033 3344 9600 to discuss.

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