Sadly, redundancies are a fact of life in the modern workplace. This factsheet aims to give you the 10 best tips on how to survive redundancy – either by convincing your employer to keep you on or, if your job is to be made redundant, to help get you the best severance terms.
- If redundancies are on the cards, your employer must warn and consult you beforehand. Typically, this means they need to speak to you individually, explain what is happening and outline the reasons for redundancy, such as a fall in sales, and discuss it with you ‘meaningfully’. Use this chance to explain how savings can be made elsewhere without job cuts, point out to them how important you are and how your job is crucial to them. They are under a duty to consider this and respond to you. This is an opportunity to get them to change their mind.
- If you are a Union member, get your Union’s help and representation at meetings. A skilled Union representative can give you an ‘edge’ and will support you in arguing for your job to be saved.
- Your employer cannot lawfully just choose who should stay and who should go without careful thought and the application of a fair process. Employers should look at “pooling” employees doing the same type of work. They should set objective non-discriminatory selection criteria (such as disciplinary record, performance, time keeping and so on) and the criteria should be fairly assessed by managers. Ask to see the criteria your employer intends to use and raise any criticisms you may have; once you’ve been assessed ask for your own scores, check they are fair and, if not, challenge them.
- Always check whether your employer has a contractual redundancy policy and, if so, insist they follow it. Such a policy may entitle you to enhanced redundancy payments or require your employer to follow a detailed redundancy process.
- If the worst happens and you are selected for redundancy but you wish to stay, ask to see all current internal vacancies and also any future vacancies that are expected. Your employer should check to see if there are any vacancies and make it possible for you to apply for them. If there are any vacancies, ask for copies of the job descriptions and written details about pay and work location as only this way will you be able to decide whether you want to apply for the vacancy.
- What else can you do if selected? Appeal against selection and dismissal – you have a right to attend an appeal hearing, normally before a different and more senior manager, who should reconsider matters for you. This is a chance to persuade your employer to change its decision to dismiss you.
- Remember that if your employer offers an alternative job to you, you can lose your right to statutory redundancy pay if an Employment Tribunal thinks that the alternative job was suitable and that you unreasonably refused it. Therefore, you need to have as much information as possible about what the new job involves and assess its suitability very carefully.
- If redundancy is inevitable, attempt to negotiate a ‘severance’ package. Your employer may only intend to pay the minimum statutory redundancy pay and notice. Argue for them to improve this or, if they require you to work out your notice, try to get them to pay you your notice pay in lieu or to place you on garden leave, giving you more time to look for alternative work.
- Always check your Contract of Employment as it may contain limits on what you can do post-termination, such as preventing you from competing with your employer for a period. If so, ask your employer to drop these restrictions and if they agree, ask them to confirm it in writing.
- If your employer is insolvent or becomes insolvent during the redundancy process, remember that some payments are guaranteed by the Government, such as statutory redundancy pay, notice pay, holiday pay and so forth (subject to a cap).
Redundancy is never an easy or pleasant process. Please try to remember that it is normally the job that is redundant not the person and when it comes to finding new employment most prospective employers understand that redundancy, as a reason for dismissal, is not unusual and do not see it as a negative.
This Fact Sheet is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.