Unfortunately, redundancies are a fact of life and since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a significant increase in redundancies in the UK. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the UK unemployment rate for December 2020 to January 2021 was 4.9%.
The lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have made it difficult for many businesses to operate, leaving struggling businesses with difficult decisions to make about making employees redundant. With Furlough coming to an end these difficult decisions are being made under unprecedented circumstances. This could lead to rushed redundancies and for this reason, now more than ever, employees should be aware of their rights.
If you have found yourself at risk of redundancy, our employment solicitors are here to help. In this article they have put together their top tips to help support you through this difficult time.
What to Do If You are at Risk of Redundancy?
If you are at risk of redundancy, it is key you understand your rights because redundancy can be extremely complicated. Your employer must follow a fair and reasonable procedure regardless of the circumstances. For further advice please read our article making the redundancy process fair.
Below we explain what you need to do if you are at risk of redundancy:
- Contact your Trade Union – If 20 or more people are being made redundant your employer must inform and consult with your recognised trade union or an appropriate employee representative. In any event your trade union is likely to be of assistance and can work with you to ensure you are being treated fairly.
- Check your Contract – Is there a lay off/reduced working clause? If so this could be an alternative to redundancy your employer may not have considered. You may also want to confirm if you have contractual rights to any enhanced redundancy payments.
- Consider Alternatives to Redundancy – Part of the consultation process should allow you to suggest/consider alternatives to redundancy. Consider if shared working, reduced hours or if any other roles could be viable alternatives for you and your employer.
- Check your Statutory Entitlement to Redundancy Pay –You can check your entitlement by calculating your statutory redundancy pay on the Government website.
- Seek Legal Advice Early – Not only will we be able to assist you with the redundancy process itself, but if something has gone wrong, the Employment Tribunal operates on strict time limits, therefore the sooner you seek legal advice the better protected you will be.
By being aware of your rights, you can ensure your employer is following an appropriate procedure and your dismissal is fair.
Please note, being “at risk” of redundancy doesn’t necessarily mean you will be made redundant. A number of factors will be considered. Your employer should consider suitable criteria within the selection process and as indicated above, should consider suitable alternatives to redundancy. For example, if there are any vacancies available at your workplace your employer should inform you about them and give you the opportunity to apply.
For advice on how to prepare for redundancy, please read our top 10 tips for surviving redundancy.
Failure to Follow the Correct Redundancy Procedure
Before making any redundancies, an employer must follow a fair and reasonable procedure. Failure to do so could lead to an unfair dismissal claim. Normally a fair and reasonable procedure will involve the employer warning the employee of the redundancy and consulting with them about it.
Consultation should take place before the employer has made a decision about the redundancy. The employee should also be given information about the redundancy and be permitted adequate time in which to respond to such information. An employee’s responses may include the consideration of suitable alternatives to redundancy. Overall, the employer should give conscientious consideration of the employee’s responses to the consultation.
If you are one of 20 or more redundancies from the same workplace in a 90-day period, your employer has a legal duty to provide information and hold a collective consultation with a trade union. If no trade union is recognised, then an employee representative should be elected (or can be appointed in certain circumstances). Such consultation should take place before making redundancies. A breach of this duty can lead to a protective award claim being brought in the Employment Tribunals. For further information please read our article what is a protective award and am I entitled to one.
Redundancy Legal Advice from Morrish Solicitors
If you’re at risk of redundancy and would like guidance on your situation, our experienced employment solicitors are here to help. We have a specialist team of solicitors who have guided thousands of individuals through the redundancy process ensuring they are treated fairly and receive the redundancy payment they are entitled to.
If you have been selected for redundancy and you believe there was not a valid redundancy situation or a fair process was not followed, our team of solicitors can advise you on whether or not you have been unfairly dismissed. Our employment team can offer you clear, honest and professional legal advice on your situation.
Over the years, we have represented thousands of people in these circumstances so, whether you need advice on individual or collective redundancies, you can have peace of mind with our knowledge we can support you through this difficult time.
To contact us regarding your employment issue please call 033 3344 9600 or simply email [email protected] with the details of your redundancy.
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