Redundancy: what are your rights?

2 min Read Published: 14 Feb 2013

Unfortunately in the current economic climate redundancy is an all too common occurrence, but if it happens to you then you need be aware of your rights.What is redundancy?

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your employment  because your employer needs to reduce their workforce. If you are made redundant then you may be eligible for certain rights such as -

- redundancy pay

- notice period

- consultation with your employer

- option to move to a different job

- time off to find a new job

Also you must be selected for redundancy in a fair way taking your experience and level of capability in your role. You cannot be selected on age, gender or if you are disabled or pregnant, if you are then this could be classed as unfair dismissal.

How should staff be selected for redundancy?

The employer must use a fair and objective method for selecting staff for redundancy such as -

- last in first out

- asking for volunteers

- disciplinary records

- staff appraisal markings

Your employer could also ask you to apply for your own job and use this process as the method of selection. If your job no longer exists then no selection process needs to be used. 

What constitutes unfair selection for redundancy?

You can not be selected for redundancy for any of the following reasons -

- gender

- marital status

- sexual orientation

- race

- disability

- religion or belief

- age

- health and safety activities

- working pattern (eg part-time)

- maternity leave, birth or pregnancy

- paternity leave, birth or pregnancy

- your membership or non-membership of a trade union

- you're exercising your statutory rights

- whistleblowing

- taking part in lawful industrial action lasting 12 weeks or less

- doing  jury service

You can appeal if you feel you have been unfairly selected by writing to your employer explaining your reasons. If are not satisfied with your employer's explanation you could pursue a claim for unfair dismissal through an employment tribunal

Can I volunteer for redundancy?

You can volunteer for redundancy but you employer is not obliged to accept you.

What are my rights regarding  pay if I am made redundant?

If you are an employee and have been working for your current employer for 2 years or more you will be entitled to statutory redundancy pay as follows.

- half a weeks pay for each full year you were under 22

- 1 weeks pay for each full year you were 22 or older but under 41

- 1.5 weeks pay for each full year you were 41 or older

You are not entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you employer offers you suitable alternative work that you decline without good reason.

The first £30,000 of redundancy pay (including any severance pay) is tax free.

What notice period should I be given if made redundant?

You must be given a notice period before your employment ends and this must not less than -

- 1 weeks notice if employed between 1 month and 2 years

- 1 weeks notice for each year if employed between 2 years and 12 years

- 12 weeks notice if employed for 12 years or more

Check your contract of employment as your employee may give you a longer notice period. You be given full pay during your notice period in addition to any redundancy pay.