What are an employees’ rights during a redundancy process? And what happens if your employer gets it wrong?
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is when an employee is no longer needed to do their job anymore. This may be due to a number of reasons, as such:
- The business is changing what it does
- The business is doing things in a different way, e.g. using new machinery
- The business is changing location or closing down
The point of redundancy is that the requirement for a certain role, and the job, have either significantly reduced or simply does noes not exist anymore. To ensure a fair process, Employers have to be able to show that they have taken steps to avoid redundancies before dismissing staff, including trying to find suitable alternative employment within the organisation for employees being made redundant, or considering restructures or short-time working.
Once an employee is notified that they are at risk of redundancy, consultation on these proposals is critical. This is an employee’s opportunity to make proposals of possible alternatives and ask questions about whether the role is genuinely redundant.
For redundancies effecting a certain number of employees, there are also specific lengths of time for which the consultation must take place:
- Organisations which wish to make 100 or more of their employees redundant must begin with a consultation period at least 45 days before the dismissals take effect.
- For fewer than 100 redundancies but more than 20, the minimum period is 30 days.
We have a blog here about the importance of consultation.
Rights under notice
All employees who have been served notice of redundancy have the right to reasonable time off to look for a new job or arrange training.
For any employees who have been continuously employed for more than two years, they have the right to be paid for some of this time off; up to 40% of a week’s pay.
If an employee is made redundant, they are entitled to their notice pay, or pay in lieu of notice where that is possible under their employment contract.
Where employees have been employed for more than two years, they are also entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. This can be calculated here.
Technically speaking there is no legal obligation to offer an appeal against dismissal in a redundancy situation. Read more here.
If an employee has more than two years’ service, then they may be eligible to claim unfair dismissal if they are dismissed without a genuine redundancy reason or fair process.
Where an employee has less than two years’ service, they can be dismissed for any reason as long as it is not (either) discriminatory, or in response to whistleblowing. In terms of discrimination, this occurs where an employee is dismissed or subject to a detriment due to a protected characteristic (which are: age, disability, pregnancy and maternity, marriage, sexual orientation, gender transition, race, religion or sex). Otherwise, an employee in that scenario is not eligible to claim for unfair dismissal and is not entitled to a redundancy payment. The fact there was no, or very little, consultation has no impact where an employee has less than two years’ service.
How we can help
From tribunal claims to draft grievances and appeal letters, we know how daunting the legal process can be for employees, and we are here to help. We will take on your case from start to finish, ensuring you know exactly where you stand.
If you are having any issues with a redundancy process or an unfair dismissal claim, we can help. We can also support individuals by negotiating settlements agreements with your employer to get the best possible outcome for you if this is the route you want to go down. We provide these services whilst being as transparent as possible with you about the legal cost.
Before commencing work on your behalf, we shall do an initial review and then inform you of any additional costs and ensure you fully understand how your legal fees are calculated, in writing, before proceeding with any case.
Whilst most firms operate on an hourly rate, we prefer to offer our clients a fixed fee (wherever possible) to assist our clients in managing their legal costs.
By Alicia Collinson
Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org