workingmums.co.uk’s guide to redundancy rights

workingmums.co.uk outlines your rights when it comes to redundancy.

Man standing at desk with office items in a cardboard box to represent redundancy

 

Being made redundant is often a difficult process. Despite all the various business reasons for redundancies, it can be difficult not to take a redundancy notice personally. Yet many people who have been through the process have gone on to take new roles or changed direction in rewarding ways, and with the current labour shortage, there are many roles on offer.

So, while there is no doubt redundancy is a stressful situation, it is always helpful to stay positive.

Understanding your rights and position is an important part of this, so that you’re ready with the right questions and knowledge at every stage.

Dealing with the threat of redundancy

Often there is talk of redundancy long before any official announcement is made. This can often be the most stressful stage, as your colleagues share their concerns and no-one is certain of who will be at risk. The thought of losing your job is always worrying, and the older we are, the greater the feeling that it will be difficult to find another job. Try to remain positive until you get the information, as sometimes rumours can be unfounded.

Your rights when being made redundant

There are several stages your employer should go through before it announces potential redundancies, including considering alternatives to redundancy and pooling those at risk fairly. Your employer should consult you both individually and collectively (with a recognised trade union or elected staff representatives) if 20 or more posts are going to be made redundant, including if you are on maternity leave [for which there are special protections].

The reasons for the redundancy should be set out in writing, and you should be invited to at least one meeting to explore ways to avoid the redundancy, comment on the basis for selection and consider other roles with the company.

Your notice period can only begin once this consultation is finished, which must last at least 30 days when 20 or more posts are made redundant (90 days if there are 100 or more).

Notice period

The length of your notice period is usually set out in your employment contract.

The statutory minimum is one week if you have worked for your employer between one month and two years, and a week per complete year of service beyond two years, up to 12 weeks.

Redundancy payment

The biggest question in all of this is usually ‘How much redundancy will I get?’

If you have more than two years of service, you are also entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. This is based on your age and length of service, up to a period of 20 years:

  • half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22
  • one week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41
  • one and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Contesting redundancy

There are some steps you could take to avoid, delay, contest or negotiate your redundancy. Use consultation to ask as many questions as possible. This may delay the end of the consultation period and buy you a few more weeks in employment.

Question whether there is a genuine redundancy situation. Suggest ways to avoid redundancy, for example, suggesting job sharing, pay cuts, part-time working, etc. The more realistic your proposals, the harder it is for your employer to brush them away.

Check which posts are at risk. If one of your colleagues is doing a similar job to you, they should also be facing redundancy which could be discriminatory, for instance, if you feel you have been chosen because you work flexibly. Ask for details of the scoring of each of those in the selection pool and the supporting evidence and argue your case if there is any obvious discrepancy with your colleagues.

Finding another job

If contesting the redundancy isn’t an option, or doesn’t help, you’ll need to find a new role. Often employers will run workshops and provide other support to help you find a new job – from CV writing advice to interview tips. Do take advantage of these as they will help you feel more confident about your next step. Equally, treat every job interview as a learning experience. Each one will take you closer to your new job.

Depending on your redundancy package, you may have a degree of freedom to consider your next move. Many people use redundancy as a springboard to pursue a new career direction – whether it’s as a freelancer, retraining in a new vocation or starting your own business.



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