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Have you been warned your employer needs to reduce their workforce and that you may be made redundant? If you are, there are rules your employer has to follow and you may be entitled to redundancy pay.
Check if your redundancy is fair
Employers selecting workers for redundancy are not allowed to discriminate by age, sex, sexuality, marital status, disability, beliefs or whether someone is pregnant or on maternity leave. Redundancy is also regarded as unfair if it’s because you have complained about health and safety or workers’ rights, are a whistleblower or refused to work in a shop on Sundays. You also shouldn’t be made redundant because you’re on jury service, on an official strike, in a trade union or work part-time or on a fixed term contract.
If your employer is making 20 or more workers redundant, they should consult your union or other representative at least 30 days before anyone’s job ends to discuss their plans.
If you have worked for your employer for less than 2 years you are entitled to a minimum of 1 week’s notice.
Added protection after 2 years
After 2 years workers’ notice period increases by a week per year up to 12 weeks. Your employer must also follow a fair process which should include at least 1 meeting with you to discuss your redundancy, why they’re considering you and what other jobs might be available. You are entitled to a meeting even if you were sick or on leave at the time.
Your employer has to try to find you another job with them or other companies they own, which might include jobs at other locations or involving different skills or pay rates. You have the option of trying an alternative job for up to 4 weeks or you can refuse to accept the offer if you can have a good reason – for example lower income, travelling difficulty, health issues or family disruption.
Your contract may offer extra benefits, but after 2 years you have a statutory right to receive 1.5 weeks’ redundancy pay for each full year of service if you’re over 41, 1 week if you’re 22 to 40 and half a week from 18 to 21. The number of years has a maximum of 20 and the weekly amount is capped at £538.
Preparing for your redundancy
After 2 years’ employment you’re entitled to take reasonable time off work to find alternative employment, although your employer may ask you to make up the time or reduce your pay. You can also contact the jobcentre’s Rapid Response Service for help.