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    legal rights when facing redundancy

    Your Legal Rights When Facing Redundancy

    PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

    Redundancy can be a painful experience and it is important for employees to know their rights and eligibilities should it happen to them.

    Here’s a brief overview of some frequently asked questions when it comes to redundancy and employment law.

    What is compulsory redundancy?

    Compulsory redundancy is when an employee is made redundant because of a wider business circumstance, rather than the employee behaving or performing unsatisfactorily. Usually, employers are considering what job roles or functions can be cut, rather than the individuals that hold them. These roles are considered ‘at risk of redundancy’.

    What is enhanced redundancy?

    An enhanced redundancy is when someone who is made redundant receives a severance package above the amount required by law. This amount, or the terms for calculating it, will usually be set out in the employment contract signed when the employment began, but can be negotiated at the point of redundancy as part of a settlement agreement. Sometimes, an enhanced redundancy pay system may have been agreed collectively the employee or a trade union.

    What does the process of redundancy look like?

    The process of being made redundant must involve a meeting between employee and employer, in which the employer must inform the employee of their potential redundancy. This will be accompanied by a notice of redundancy letter, delivery of which will signal the start of the redundancy notice period.

    There is a maximum of a 12 weeks’ notice period if the employee has been employed for 12 years or more. At least one week’s notice must be given if they have been employed between one month and two years, and one additional week’s notice for each year they have been employed between two and 12 years.

    Can I dispute my redundancy?

    Redundancies can be disputed on the basis of proper procedure not being followed, or if the redundancy was ‘automatically unfair’ or discriminatory. An ‘automatically unfair’ redundancy would be if the employee was made redundant due to using their employment rights, are members of a union, took action about a health and safety issue, or otherwise acted in a way protected by employment law. A discriminatory redundancy is when an employee is chosen for redundancy due to a protected characteristic such as race, gender, or sexuality.

    The process for disputing a redundancy usually involves initially making use of official appeals processes with an employer where available, followed by a mediation process called ‘early conciliation’. If these processes do not resolve the issue, then an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal may be warranted.

    Do I have to work my redundancy notice period?

    If the employer does not want the employee to work their notice period, they can offer pay in lieu of notice, which is a lump sum payment. Employees can also request this and negotiate a lump sum, although it may not be granted. This time off work, where an employee is not working but is still legally employed, is commonly called garden leave.

    Who can accompany you to a redundancy meeting?

    An employer may allow a HR or union representative in a redundancy meeting in order to take notes and ensure proper process is followed.

    Can I get another job when on redundancy notice?

    As an employee is still technically employed by an employer during a redundancy notice period, even while on garden leave, employees in their redundancy period shouldn’t start a new job during the period. However, they may still search for a new job and attend interviews as they could at any other time.

    DFA Law offers advice and representation to those who have been made redundant. Find out more about employment law.

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