Redundancy is a big concern for people especially with furlough finishing and employers being asked for bigger wage contributions, they will be making difficult decisions. The R word is on a lot of people’s minds at present and sadly everyone worried needs to think about a contingency plan. It is important that you are prepared and know your legal rights
If you are told there are going to be redundancies at work, what should you expect? the answer to that depends on the future of the whole business. If it’s closing, then redundancy is inevitable. However, if only certain people are being made redundant, that is different. They will go into a redundancy pool and there will be a consultation period. Employees should be told what the selection criteria is and these must be fair and objective. Employers can’t discriminate on grounds of race and sex obviously but also age, whether the person has children, disability etc. It’s not just last in, first out. The criteria can also look at disciplinary records, staff appraisals, skills, experience, qualifications etc. Most employers will have a marking scheme to rank the employees.
The consultation process is a two-way process. There has to be a meaningful discussion between employer and employee and at least one meeting. You can ask to take a colleague or a union rep into meetings for support or to take notes. At this stage you may be fighting for your job so it is important that you prepare for the meeting. Try and come up with solutions to save your job eg to vary the terms of your contract or fewer hours in order to stay on
Once the consultation period is over you should be notified of the result in writing and you have the right to appeal – check with your employer how that works. If your employer offers you another job you’re not obliged to take it but you could do a four-week trial period. If you reject it after that, you will still get redundancy. Do all your communication about this in writing.
If you are going to be made redundant, then it is important to know what you are entitled to. Your contract will often outline your redundancy pay and notice period. If the contract is silent on this or refers to statutory redundancy, there’s a set amount which depends on how long you have been employed. If employed for more than two years you are entitled to redundancy pay and the amount will depend on your age. 21 or under: half a week for every full year worked. Between 22 and 40: full week for every year worked. Over 41: week and a half for every year worked. It’s based on your normal average wage, not furlough pay. Holiday pay and commission is included (at pre furlough rate). The bad news is there is a statutory cap so you can only get up to £538 per week to a maximum of £16,140.
Your employer will tell you in writing how your redundancy payment is calculated and about your notice period – you should be paid for your notice period on top of redundancy pay and you should expect to work it. Your employer can never make you accept statutory redundancy pay if your contract offers something different – the terms of your contract supersede the statutory provisions.
Losing your job is very tough but it’s the job that’s being made redundant, not you, so try not to take it personally. It is important to know where you stand. Read your contract (or the statutory provisions). ACAS runs a free redundancy helpline and has lots of resources on its website
The Government have launched a new scheme JETS and it’s aimed at people on jobs benefits who have been out of work for 13 weeks. It will offer work coaches, specialist advice and help moving between sectors. You never know, it might be time to reassess your career and training
You are in the same position as a lot of other people out there, help is available and remember however bad it gets history promises us that we will get out of this economic recession. There is always a new dawn.