The last two years have made a marked difference to the business landscape, both locally and nationally. As a result of the pandemic, there has been an increase in redundancies, with many employers having been forced to make tough personnel decisions.
Redundancies most commonly arise when a business or one of its locations has to close, there is a reduction in work, or as a result of a business merger or acquisition. Lloyd Clarke, Head of Employment Law comments: “If you’ve been made redundant or are concerned that you might be facing redundancy, it’s important to know your legal rights, what your options are what your employer should be doing and when.”
Your redundancy rights:
- Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. In practice, this means the right to be consulted and the right to be offered suitable alternative employment where possible. However, the right not to be unfairly dismissed only applies to employees who have completed the qualifying period of service of two years.
- Regardless of an employee’s length of service, an employee has the right not to be selected for redundancy on certain prescribed grounds as the dismissal will be automatically unfair.
- All employees with two years’ qualifying service have the right to time off to look for work or arrange training.
- All employees dismissed for redundancy have the right to contractual notice, subject to statutory minimum notice.
- Employees with two years’ qualifying service have the right to receive a statutory redundancy payment.
- An employee may also be entitled to a contractual redundancy payment if there is an express or implied right to one.
If you feel that you have been made redundant as a result of unfair discrimination you may be eligible for a claim for discrimination against your employer, regardless of how long you have worked for your employer. Here, it is important to speak to an employment lawyer at an early stage to see if your claim is viable.
Similarly, if you feel that you have been dismissed unfairly, you could have a claim for unfair dismissal. However, you can only bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you have been employed for a minimum of 2 years. In order for the dismissal to be lawful, your employer has to evidence that there was a genuine redundancy situation and that they followed the right procedure before dismissing you, for example, consulting with you on the redundancy and searching for alternative employment.
Voluntary redundancy and settlement agreements
In many cases, an employer may decide to offer you voluntary redundancy as a shortcut, instead of taking the compulsory redundancy route which can be a lengthy and high-risk process.
As a part of voluntary redundancy, you will receive an enhanced compensation package. In return, your employer will require you to sign a settlement agreement.
In signing a settlement agreement, you are agreeing not to take your employer to an Employment Tribunal in respect of your redundancy.
In order for any settlement agreement to be legally binding, an employee MUST receive independent legal advice on the terms and effects of the settlement agreement. If they do not, the settlement agreement will not be binding and therefore will not be worth the paper it is written on. This is the reason why the employer will always contribute towards the legal costs involved in a solicitor advising an employee on the settlement agreement. These costs range from £250-£750+VAT.
In almost all cases where an employee contacts us for advice on a settlement agreement, we agree to cap our fee at the contribution provided by the employer. This means that if you are an employee in need of advice on a settlement agreement, we can offer you a completely FREE service.
Attwells Solicitors offer an Online Settlement Agreement Service which allows an employee to go on our website, answer a few simple questions, and/or upload their agreement online. This is then sent directly to a lawyer in our Employment Law Team, who will review the agreement and call you back to discuss the same, all free of charge.
Holiday and notice period
You are allowed to either work your notice period or receive payment in lieu of it when you are made redundant. The amount of notice you are entitled to receive depends upon your contract and the length of time you have been employed with your employer. You are also entitled to be paid in lieu for any accrued holiday that you have not taken at the date your employment ends.
Being made redundant can seem daunting, but with the right support and legal advice, it can become a more positive experience and even an opportunity for a fresh start.
If you need to speak to a legal professional about your redundancy situation, we offer a free initial no-obligation consultation. Call our Head of Employment Law and Partner of the firm, Lloyd Clarke, on 01206 239761, or email Lloyd.firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can upload your settlement agreement for a free review using our Online Settlement Agreement Service.