One of the most serious outcomes of the current pandemic problem is that thousands of people in the UK are losing their jobs. If you are one of these people, and are made redundant or offered voluntary redundancy, it is important that you thoroughly understand your rights and options.
The first thing to do if you are at risk of redundancy is to look at your contract of employment, which will spell out your basic rights. Make sure that your company abides by these conditions. Also, consider other sources of help such as your union if you belong to one. Bear in mind that if you have been in the job for less than two years you do not have as much job protection, but if for more than two years, your employer has to follow certain procedures, e.g. find you another job in the company if possible.
You can’t be made redundant in an unfair way or for discriminatory reasons. The reason must be a genuine one, i.e. the job you do or the skills you have are no longer needed, or the employer can’t afford you, or the business is failing. With technology advancing, sometimes fewer people are needed to do a given job.
You might be entitled to receive redundancy pay, which increases with length of service and has two elements – statutory and contractual. Statutory pay (not paid to those who have less than two years’ service) is the minimum that the law says you are entitled to, and is based on your age, weekly pay and the number of years you have worked in the job. Contractual redundancy pay is the additional amount to which your contract may entitle you. If you have been furloughed, the law says that your redundancy pay must be worked out according to your usual wages, not the 80% furlough figure. Bear in mind that if your employer offers you a suitable alternative job and you refuse to take it without good reasons, they can refuse to give you redundancy pay. You can check that your redundancy pay is fair by using the calculator at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay.
You are also entitled to a paid notice period or pay in lieu of notice, and the employer should give you paid time off for attending job interviews.
All the implications of redundancy are helpfully described on the Citizens Advice website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/leaving-a-job The website also gives advice about claiming benefits or dealing with your debts if you need this. You can talk to an adviser on our Adviceline on 0300 330 9049.