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Redundancy Overview

If you are unfortunate to find yourself at risk of redundancy it is important that you are aware of your rights.

How will you know if your job is redundant?

Your job may become redundant if:

your employer ceases or intends to cease carrying on the business in which you are employed; or
your employer ceases or intends to cease carrying on the business where you are based; or
the particular type of work that you carry out has ceased or diminished or is expected to cease or diminish.

If your job does become redundant then you should expect your employer to consult with all staff who may be at risk of redundancy.  There are strict requirement for the length of time an employer must consult with employees’ before making any redundancies, which vary according to the number of intended redundancies.

You should also expect your employer to carry out a fair selection process.  Your employer should advise you of the proposed selection criteria during the consultation period and you should take this opportunity to raise any concerns that you may have.  If you believe you will be unfairly disadvantaged by the proposed selection criteria, you should bring this to the attention of your employer.

Redundancy Payments

If you are made redundant, you may be entitled to compensation by way of a redundancy payment.  The amount you will be entitled to is set by statute and calculated according to your age, gross weekly salary and length of service.  Not everyone is automatically entitled to a redundancy payment and one is only payable when you have at least two years’ continuous employment and you have been dismissed by reason of redundancy.

You will lose the right to a redundancy payment if:

you are reinstated or re-employed in suitable alternative employment within a certain period of time; or
you unreasonably refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment; or
you try out a new position and unreasonably terminate it during the trial period.

There are also other exceptions for a redundancy payment for example, striking during the notice period or failure to work your notice period.

Unfair Redundancy

Redundancy is a fair reason for dismissal.  If a fair procedure is not followed, or if you are unfairly selected for redundancy, then the dismissal may be unfair.

A fair procedure would comprise of at least a warning and consultation, a fair basis for selection, consideration of alternative employment and an appeal procedure.

Time off to look for other work

If you have been given notice of redundancy you may be given time off to look for other employment.  To have this right you must have at least two years continuous employment with your employer and you must have been given notice of dismissal by the reason of redundancy.

If you have been made redundant (or you are at risk of being made redundant) and you have concerns or questions then you should raise these with your employer and consider taking legal advice.

Charlotte Ann Matthews is a Trainee Solicitor with QualitySolicitors Gould & Swayne based in Wells.

Legal advice may vary with the circumstances of each case - be sure to take your solicitor’s advice.

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