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How much notice am I entitled to when being dismissed or made redundant?

Being made redundant from your job is a type of dismissal. When carried out correctly it’s a perfectly legal way of an employer terminating a permanent contract of employment with an employee.

The laws that govern redundancy must be followed very carefully, and are designed to offer the employee some time, advice and facilities to help them find alternative work, although the level of help you receive can depend on the amount of time you’ve worked permanently for the company, and it can also depend on certain terms in your contract. 

Normally you are entitled to at least the statutory minimum notice:

  • One week’s notice if you have been employed for more than one month but less than two years
  • Two weeks’ notice after two years
  • An additional week for each extra year of employment, up to a maximum total notice period of 12 weeks.

You may be entitled to a longer period of notice if your contract of employment says so.  In fact it’s not uncommon for people who work together to have different contract terms, due to changes and developments in company employment policies.  So you may have a notice period in your employment contract of one month, while a colleague of yours has a notice period of three months.

Whatever notice period you are given, you’re entitled to be paid at your normal rate during that period.  You may also be given what’s known as a consultation period, which may overlap your notice period and may be longer than your notice period, although consultation and notice would end on the same day.  A consultation period gives you and your employer time to discuss and clarify important issues relating to your redundancy such as; why you’re being made redundant, options for alternative employment within the company, assistance with preparing your CV for subsequent job hunting.

Exceptionally, you can be dismissed without notice for gross misconduct — typically things like theft or fighting. Your employer’s disciplinary procedure should state what they consider to be gross misconduct.

Naturally, these days there’s much help you can get if you’re facing redundancy.  Your local Jobcentre is a good starting point, and it’s a good idea to contact them as soon as you’re given notice of your redundancy, as this can give you a little extra time to find a new job and make this transitional phase as seamless and stress-free as possible.

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