Now that the government’s coronavirus support schemes, including furlough have ended, it is likely that redundancy may be an issue affecting many people. Over the coming months, it is possible that struggling companies will be starting the redundancy process with the conclusion of furlough.
Losing your job can be a shock and dealing with redundancy can feel stressful and frightening, which can turn your life and finances upside down and strains on relationships.
We have put together this blog with some easy-to-read guidance to help you through this tough time.
Unfortunately, having a blood cancer diagnosis does not protect you from being selected for redundancy, but your employer does have to ensure that they are following a fair process in order to select those who may be at risk.
Your right to a fair process
If you have worked for your employer for at least 2 years by the time you job ends, they will need to follow a fair redundancy process. You should be invited to at least one meeting where you will meet with your employer to discuss redundancy.
What are my legal rights if I am facing redundancy?
If you are faced with redundancy, you have certain rights, your employer must use a fair and objective way of selecting job roles to make redundant and tell you what it is.
Redundancy happens when your job role disappears. It is not the same thing as being dismissed from your job for other reasons.
If you are an employee, you can only be made redundant if the job you are doing is no longer needed, for example:
- Your workplace is closing
- Changes to what the business does
- Business has less demand for its services
- Change of location
- Your work is being done by other people, after a reorganisation
- Your skills are no longer needed.
It does not matter how long you have worked for your employer, you cannot be selected for redundancy based on the following:
- Disability (including people who have been diagnosed with blood cancer)
- Marital status
Your employer must treat you fairly and act in accordance with your contract and legal redundancy rights. For those who have worked for the company for two years and over, you could appeal. For example, if you have not been consulted, or if your employers have not followed the correct selection process and given you proper notice period. You may be able to claim for unfair dismissal, or claim for lack pf consultation. If you do not believe your redundancy is genuine, contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau, or Acas. You may be able challenge your redundancy. If you are part of a union, talk to a union representative, who will be able to advise you. Check if your redundancy is fair here.
For more information on employment tribunals and how to make a claim, click here.
My employer says that redundancies are impending – how much notice am I entitled to?
Your employer should give you proper “notice of termination” that you will be made redundant. Make sure that you check your contract of employment, as it might say that you’re entitled to longer notice periods.
As an employee, you are entitled to a minimum notice period of:
- At least one week’s notice if you have been employed between one month and two years.
- One week’s notice for each year if employed between two and 12 years.
- 12 weeks’ notice if employed for 12 years or more.
Your right to consultation
If you’re an employee affected by redundancies, your employer by law will need to consult with you. They must inform you of what is going on and give you the opportunity to ask questions and raise objections.
Your employer must consider some of the following as part of the consultation process:
- Explore alternatives to redundancy.
- Look at ways to reduce the number of redundancies.
- Look at how they can reduce resulting hardship.
You will normally have a face-to-face meeting with your manager or the person leading the redundancy changes.
During the coronavirus pandemic, your employer may make contact with you remotely, for example over the telephone or using video conference-calling technology. The consultation is a chance for you to discuss the following:
- Consider alternatives to redundancy.
- How people will be selected for redundancy.
- Any issues you have with the process.
- Time off to look for a new job or training.
If your employer is proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant in a 90-day period, they will need to collectively consult with a representative of affected employees. The minimum period of consultation is 30 days, increasing to 45 days if more than 99 employees are being made redundant.
Can I volunteer for redundancy?
As an employee, your employer may ask you if you are interested in voluntary redundancy. You may wish to consider this option. Taking voluntary redundancy may be beneficial as you will be paid a final salary and you can negotiate other things you may like to be included in the package, especially if you have been at a place of work for a long period. Ensure you consider how long redundancy payment will support you for and make plans for how you will support yourself after this period. Take advice you to ensure you know your rights. Citizens Advice can advise you throughout the redundancy process:
You are protected from dismissal or compulsory redundancy by your employer for any reason related to your leukaemia diagnosis; for example, for taking lots of time off or not performing as well as an equivalent employee who is not ill.
I am being made redundant because of coronavirus. How much redundancy pay am I entitled to?
Your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wage.
After two years with your employer, you’ll qualify for a minimum statutory redundancy payment. If you have worked there for less than two years, you’ve no right to any pay-out.
With at least 24 months’ continuous service, how much you are entitled to will depend on how long you worked for the company, and how old you were during this time.
To calculate your entitlement to statutory redundancy pay, click here.
My company has gone bust because of coronavirus. Can I still get redundancy pay?
If you’re made redundant because your firm has gone bust, you can apply for a statutory redundancy pay from the Redundancy Payments Service (part of the Insolvency scheme), although this process is more complicated. You will need your case reference number, as well as NI number and details of your employment. You can apply on the following link here.
What happens after consultation? Your right to take time off to look for work
If you worked for your employer for two years at the end of your notice period, you have the right to take time off to apply for jobs, attend an interview, or go on training. You can take this time off in your normal working hours. You employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off.
Preparing for after redundancy
Check you got all the money you’re entitled to.
When you get your final pay, you should check you got:
- Redundancy pay
- Your last wages/salary
- Any ‘pay in lieu’ if you’re not working your full notice
- Any holiday pay
Also check the following on your last day:
- Details of your pension
- Job references from your employer
- A letter stating the date of your redundancy
- Your P45
- A written statement showing how your redundancy pay has been calculated
Help getting a new job
Contact your local jobcentre and ask for their Rapid Response Service, who are experts in assisting people who have been made redundant. They will help you find a new job and may even pay you for training.
Some employers provide job hunting help as part of a redundancy package, but also have a look on the internet on recruitment sites for job hunting advice, tips and support.
You can consider your options, maybe make changes to your job role, or look for something totally different. Consider what skills you have, and what sort of jobs would suit you.
As soon as you’re ready to apply for other jobs, update your CV. This can be a stressful task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. It should always be clearly formatted and short enough for a recruiter to scan quickly, and tailored to the role you’re applying for. You can download CV templates online. The following links will take you to some job search websites:
Computer and online skills
Find your nearest training centre on the following website: https://www.onlinecentresnetwork.org/
The following website offers a free course on using a computer, browsing the web and finding work online: https://www.learnmyway.com/
Receiving benefits also pays your national insurance contributions, which can have an impact on your pension. You will need to declare any savings, including your redundancy payment.
Please see the Welfare Benefit Rights toolkit on our webpage – https://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk/support-and-information/campaigning-and-advocacy/know-your-rights-toolkit/
You can also phone our Welfare Officer, Lisa, on 07903219525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see what benefits you may be entitled to.
For further help
We cannot give legal advice; however, if anyone would like to speak to me about the contents of this blog, or require any financial or welfare advice, please contact Lisa Barnett on 07903219525 or email email@example.com
Acas offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues in England, Scotland and Wales.
Find out more on the acas (the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website. https://www.acas.org.uk/your-rights-during-redundancy.
Contact the Helpline on 0300 123 1100 – (8am to 6pm) Monday to Friday
The Labour Relations Agency also provides an impartial and confidential employment relations service in Northern Ireland. Find out more on the Labour Relations Agency Website. https://www.lra.org.uk/ending-employment/redundancy or
Contact the Helpline on 03300 555 3000 – 9am to 5pm) Monday to Friday.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Your local bureau can give you free employment advice.
Other useful links about redundancy and your rights