This document is intended to provide brief guidance on Protective Award claims for ex-employees of M&Co who have been made redundant.

What is a Protective Award?

If an employer is intending to make 20 or more employees redundant at one workplace it must inform and consult workplace representatives. Consultation must last for a minimum of 30 days (for 20 and 99 redundancies) or 45 days (for 100 or more redundancies). This is known as a “collective consultation”.

If the employer fails to comply with those duties, a “Protective Award” claim can be pursued. The Protective Award is the amount of compensation payable to each redundant employee. The value depends on the severity of the failure to comply.

Am I eligible to bring a Protective Award claim?

To be eligible you must have been an employee (not self-employed) and you must be 1 of 20 or more made redundant (or to be made redundant shortly) at a single workplace (or “establishment”).

What if representatives were elected?

If representatives were elected for redundancy consultation or there was an existing employee forum or recognised union, the representative/s might have to pursue the Protective Award claim for you. You must therefore identify whether representatives were in place, if so, and make sure they join you in making a claim. If there were no existing representatives and none were elected, claims can be brought by the individual.

Do I need to have been employed for a particular length of time?

These claims don’t require any minimum length of service. You might only have been employed a matter of weeks before being made redundant and it wouldn’t matter.

When must the claim be brought?

A claim must generally be made to an Employment Tribunal within 3 months (less a day) from the date you were made redundant, subject to any extension of time that might be granted for completing ACAS Early Conciliation within that period.

If your claim isn’t lodged in time, it could automatically fail. You must therefore act quickly.

If I am successful, what am I likely to recover?

The maximum award an Employment Tribunal can make is 90 days’ gross pay but this can be reduced in certain circumstances.

Where the company is insolvent, it’s likely that only a proportion of the compensation can be recovered via the government’s Insolvency Service (see below).

What if my employer is insolvent?

In cases of insolvency the government’s Insolvency Service can pay Protective Award compensation out of the National Insurance Fund but only if you and Employment Tribunal claim. The amount payable is limited to a maximum of 8 weeks’ gross pay (currently capped at £538 per week if made redundant on or after 6 April 2020), less amounts already paid for unpaid salary and other deductions, such as national insurance contributions.

How can Morrish Solicitors help me?

We specialise nationally in these claims. We represented 260 ex-CityLink employees, who were each awarded 90 days’ pay (BBC News, ITV News) and we’ve had success in other large protective award claims such as Phones4u (Yorkshirelegalnews), Turners Fine Foods, Paperlinx, Austin Reed, Maplin, Poundworld and others. We are currently pursuing many other claims against Bardsley, Styles & Wood, Thomas Cook and 3AAA and Howard Hunt (City) Limited.

These claims are complex and not widely known or properly understood. There are also a number of procedural and technical pitfalls that could lead to a claim being rejected and a claim could be defended. Where the company is insolvent, you will also need to secure permission to proceed. The process of securing compensation is time consuming, often taking up to 18 months or more to reach an Employment Tribunal hearing. We can handle the whole process for you and take steps to ensure you have the best chance of success.

What about fees?

Legal fees and expenses (if any) are only payable at the end of the case, from the compensation you recover. Our fees are a percentage of the net compensation actually recovered and expenses, such as Court fees, are shared between the group and payable at the end of the case from compensation recovered. Once we know the size of the potential litigation group and prospects of success, we can confirm the percentage fee and likely  contribution to expenses.

The more people we have in the litigation group, the lower the fees. There are no up-front costs and if you lose, you don’t pay anything.

How do I register my interest?

Please complete our online questionnaire.  This allows us to keep track of numbers and secure the basic information we need for this claim. We will allow a initial period of 3 weeks for everyone concerned to have the opportunity to contact us. At that point, once we have an idea of the number of people interested, we’ll contact you individually with further information and confirmation of the percentage chargeable and anticipated costs.

What if I am a member of a Trade Union or part of a bargaining unit?

If you are a trade union member you must contact your union and seek their support in pursuing a claim. Trade union membership is by far the best way of funding these types of claim, as legal assistance is usually a benefit of membership and you won’t therefore have any fees to pay.

You must let us know if trade unions operate within the company generally. We need to check whether you were part of a trade union bargaining unit as it may impact on how the claim can be pursued.

Complete our Protective Award questionnaire

If you would like us to help you with a potential claim, please complete our online Protective Award questionnaire  as soon as possible and by no later than 27th August 2020. If you have any questions contact Daniel Kindell, Erin Garnham or email info@morrishsolicitors.com.

There is a time limit of 3 months (less one day), within which to pursue this claim in the Employment Tribunal, which is likely to run from the date your employment ended. This is subject to any extension through use of the ACAS Early Conciliation process.

Completion of this questionnaire is merely an expression of interest in this claim, and not a guarantee we will lodge your claim for you. We will write to you with further information once we received your response.

We will only lodge an Employment Tribunal claim for you if funding arrangements are formally in place and if we have written to you to confirm we will do so. Until that time, it remains your responsibility to lodge proceedings within the appropriate time limits.

We look forward to hearing from you.