What is redundancy?
Redundancy can result from various changes in the workplace, such as a downturn in business or the restructuring of a growing company. Redundancy is a potentially fair reason for an employee’s dismissal, provided that a fair and reasonable procedure is followed.
If an employee is facing redundancy, they may be eligible for various legal rights. These could include a notice period, redundancy pay, a consultation with the employer, suitable alternative employment, or time off to search for a new job.
Being selected for redundancy
By law, employers are required to follow a fair and objective selection process when choosing employees for redundancy. The process might involve employers asking for volunteers or reviewing their employees’ appraisal markings or disciplinary records.
It is important to note that employers are not allowed to select employees for redundancy on the basis of discrimination. If an employee believes that they have been selected unfairly, they should write to their employer and outline the reasons. The employee may also make a claim for unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.
If a company is being re-organised, an employer may close down an entire department within the company, which would make a large number of employees redundant. In this case, the employer does not have to follow a selection process as the affected employees’ jobs no longer exist. However, the employer may still be required to consult with those employees.
Notice period for redundancy
Employers are legally required to give employees a notice period before their redundancy comes into effect. An employee’s notice period varies based on how long they have been working for their employer. The statutory notice periods are:
|Amount of Notice||Length of Employment Completed|
|At least 1 week||Between 1 month and 2 years|
|1 week’s notice for each year the employee has been working for the employer||Between 2 years and 12 years|
|12 weeks’ notice||12 years or more|
It is important to note that the statutory notice periods are a minimum requirement and employment contracts may specify more notice period. It should also be noted that an employment contract may state that the employment can be ended without notice if ‘payment in lieu of notice’ is provided.
A person is generally entitled to statutory redundancy pay if they are an employee and have worked for their employer for a period of 2 years or more. However, an employee is not entitled to the statutory redundancy pay if the employer makes an offer to keep the employee on or suggests suitable alternative work that is refused without providing a good reason.
Consultation with the employer
If an employee is going to be made redundant, they are entitled to a consultation with their employer. The consultation should cover why the decision has been taken to make the employee redundant and whether there may be any alternative options available. If an employee feels that their employer has not consulted them properly, they may be able to take their case to an employment tribunal.
In cases of collective redundancy (where 20 or more employees are simultaneously losing their jobs), the consultation should consist of the employer and an employee representative. The representative could be an elected employee representative or a trade union representative. Collective consultations must cover the reasons for the redundancies, ways to avoid or minimise the job losses, and how to limit the effects for the employees.
Suitable alternative employment
If an employee unreasonably turns down their employer’s offer of a suitable alternative employment, they might lose their right to statutory redundancy pay. However, if the role offered was not actually suitable, the employee can make a claim at an employment tribunal.
Time off to search for a new job
If an employee has worked for their employer for two continuous years when their notice period comes to an end, they are permitted to take a reasonable amount of time off in order to seek alternative employment or arrange training that will help them find alternative employment.
How can NA Law Solicitors help?
As specialists in employment law, we can help you if you have been made redundant. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article or have specific queries about your employment matter, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.