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Employment and redundancy: Legal support when you need it most

Since the start of the pandemic redundancy rates in the UK have increased faster than during the economic crisis of 2008-9.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the biggest increase in redundancies last year was seen by the transport and storage industry at 400.4%.[1] The combined number of employees furloughed across the accommodation and food services sector, the wholesale and retail sector, and the restaurants and mobile food sector was 2,681,500 by January 2021.[2]

Despite the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), aviation companies including British Airways, have made thousands of people redundant.[3] By the end of January this year, 52% of air transport employees were furloughed under the CJRS and it remains to be seen how many furloughs will turn into redundancies.[4]

Significantly, the ONS found that redundancy rates for disabled employees were higher than average during the pandemic.[5] According to a poll published by the TUC, 30% of disabled workers say they have been unfairly treated by their employers.[6]

If you are facing redundancy, our employment solicitors are here to make sure you receive all your rights and entitlements under the law and that you are treated fairly. Here we answer some questions you might have.

What is redundancy?

If your employer decides their organisation no longer needs your role they could make you redundant.

Redundancies can only take place when an organisation (or a department within an organisation) is closing or moving location, or if the organisation itself has changed and they now need a different set of skills.

When an employee is dismissed for reasons other than those above, it is not redundancy. If the reason for dismissal is performance related, then the employer must follow disciplinary or capability procedures before they can dismiss someone.


What are your redundancy rights during the pandemic?

Your redundancy rights under the law have not changed. Employers must follow the same redundancy processes and they cannot discriminate against you.

When making redundancies employers must comply with the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010. The Employment Rights Act 1996 protects employees from unfair dismissal and the Equality Act 2010 prevents discrimination under protected characteristics (age, disability, gender, race and more). If an employer fails to comply, they risk unfair dismissal or unlawful discrimination claims.

If there are a group of people who perform similar roles within an organization the employer may use a set of agreed criteria to choose who will be made redundant. These criteria must not put a person at a disadvantage due to any of the protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act 2010. For instance, if an employer listed flexible working as a criteria this could indirectly discriminate against a parent.

Employers can, however, use factors such as appraisal scores and disciplinary records in their selection process.


How much notice will you receive under employment law?

Statutory notice periods are set out in employment law. An employer can give you more notice than required, but not less.

You must receive at least a week’s notice if you have worked for your employer between one month and two years. If you have worked for them for more than two years you will be given a week for every year you have been employed by them. However, you will not receive more than twelve weeks’ notice even if you have worked for your employer for over twelve years.


How much redundancy pay will you receive?

As with notice periods, statutory redundancy pay is set out in employment law. Again, your employer can give you more than demanded by law, but not less.

How much you receive depends upon your age. Those aged between 17 and 21 receive half a week’s pay for every full year of employment in which they were that age. Those aged 22-40 receive one week’s pay and those aged over 41 receive 1.5 weeks’ pay under the same terms as the youngest age group.

Weekly statutory pay is no more than £544 and maximum statutory redundancy pay is capped at £16,320.

If your total redundancy package is less than £30,000 it is tax free.


How does the redundancy process work?

When your employer decides to make redundancies they must consult with you even if your job is not directly at risk.

Your employer must meet with you at least once, and this can be remotely during the pandemic. The meeting is an opportunity for you to talk about how you think your employer could avoid redundancies, any questions you have about the process and your needs (for example, do you need time off for training or to look for a new job?). Your employer does not have to carry out your suggestions, but they are required to listen to you and take you seriously.

If your employer plans to make 20 or more people redundant over a period of 90 days or less they must undertake a Collective Redundancy Consultation under the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consulidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). During the consultation a person elected by the employees (the ‘employee representative’) or the trade union representative will meet with the employer and act as the employees’ voice in the process.


What happens if my employer offers me an alternative role?

You might be offered another job within the organization as an alternative to redundancy. You do not have to accept the role if it is not suitable.

To decide whether a job is suitable for you, consider how the benefits and pension compare to your current job; if you would have to travel further to work; and whether the role suits your skills and abilities.

If you are offered a ‘suitable’ alternative and turn it down, you risk your losing redundancy pay.


How can an employment solicitor help if you’ve been dismissed?

An employment solicitor will make sure you are fairly treated under the law by ensuring your employer follows the correct procedures. They will make sure you receive fair redundancy entitlements and pay. They might be able to save your job or help you to secure alternative employment within the organization.

If you think you have been unfairly selected for redundancy, your employment solicitor will advise you whether you have grounds to challenge the decision. If you are one of a small group selected, you feel you have been discriminated against, or your employer has not followed correct procedures (for example, they failed to consult properly with you or provide you with enough information about the process) you can appeal.

A specialist employment solicitor will guide you through your employer’s appeals process (or help you to take the right steps if they do not have one). If you are unhappy with the outcome, you can escalate your claim at an employment tribunal.

If you believe you have been made redundant unfairly, it is vital to act quickly because you only have three months from the end of your employment to claim for unfair dismissal.


Contact Hopleys GMA specialist employment solicitors today

Have you been told you are about to be made redundant? Our experienced employment lawyers will help you to understand your rights as well as making sure you receive the financial package you are entitled to and fair treatment throughout the process.

We offer a same-day response and with our free, initial, over-the-phone advice. For fast, friendly employment law advice, talk to us today on [phone]


[1] Sky News, Covid -19: Redundancy rates during the pandemic have increased faster than in crisis of 2008-9,


[2] Gov UK, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Statistics: March 2021,


[3], Restructuring, redundancies and terms and conditions,


[4]UK Parliament, Aviation: Employment,


[5] Sky News, Covid -19: Redundancy rates during the pandemic have increased faster than in crisis of 2008-9,


[6] TUC, Nearly one in three disabled workers surveyed treated unfairly at work during the pandemic – new TUC polling,

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