Employment: Recovering from redundancy

If you have recently been made redundant you might not know what to do next or where to turn to for support. We look at your rights and what financial help is available.

Throughout 2020 the possibility of being made redundant is at the forefront of many people’s minds, often for the first time. From May to July 2020, redundancies increased by 58,000 compared to 2019, and by 48,000 compared to the last quarter– the largest increases seen in 11 years.

Being made redundant can be disheartening and difficult to process, but it is important to remember that it is nothing personal. Many organisations have been forced to close or reduce their workforce in recent months, but there is support available if you have been made redundant.

Process

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job and happens when your employer needs to reduce their workforce. If you have been selected for redundancy, by law your employer has to consult you.

The consultation process usually includes face-to-face meetings with the person leading the redundancy changes, but for safety or if you work remotely, these consultations can take place over the phone.

These meetings are a chance for your employer to talk about the changes they are making and why you are at risk of redundancy. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions or make suggestions including how you have been selected and any issues you are having with the process.

Finances

If you meet the requirements for redundancy then you may be entitled to redundancy pay. The amount you receive will depend on several factors and what is in your contract.

If you have worked for your employer for at least two years, you could qualify for statutory redundancy pay. The amount of redundancy pay you can get is based on age, weekly pay and the number of years you have worked with your employer. Keep in mind: Your weekly pay is the average you earned per week over the 12 weeks before the day you got your redundancy notice.

If you have been on furlough because of coronavirus, your redundancy pay will be based on what you would have earned normally.

Alongside redundancy pay, there is other financial help available. Make sure to check if you are eligible for any benefits.

Universal Credit is a key benefit if you are on a low income or are unemployed. This is a means tested benefit so will be affected by any savings or capital you or your partner has. On Universal Credit you could receive £409.89 a month, but you can get more if you have rent to pay or if you have children.

Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main out of work benefit that can be claimed, this is a payment of up to £74.35 a week. The amount you receive depends on if you are receiving other benefits and this benefit is claimed through the Jobcentre Plus.

You can apply for Employment Support Allowance if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. This gives you money to help with living costs and support to get back into work if you are able to. Information on all of these benefits can be found on the government website.

Your rights

Everyone has rights when they are selected for redundancy and you can’t be selected due to your disability or because you need adjustments in the workplace. If this happens, it is classed as discrimination.

You have redundancy rights if you are legally classed as an employee and you have worked continuously for your employer for at least two years before they make you redundant.

Alongside redundancy pay, your employer must provide a notice period before your employment ends. Make sure to check your contract, your employer can always give you more redundancy pay but not less.

If you have been made redundant because your employer is insolvent, which means your employer cannot pay its debts, you can apply to the government for support. You can apply to the government for a redundancy payment; holiday pay; outstanding payments like unpaid wages, overtime and commission; money you would have earned working your notice. If you lose your job, you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Help

If you have been selected for redundancy but you are unsure of the process that was followed you should seek advice from an impartial organisation. Acas and Citizens Advice can provide you with information and resources to help you understand this process.

If you think that you were unfairly selected or your employer didn’t follow a fair redundancy process, you can appeal a redundancy decision.

Check with your employer and see if they have an appeal process to follow, if they don’t you can write to them explaining why you think the redundancy is unfair. You can get help from staff representatives like trade unions or you can ask a senior member of staff who was not involved in the selection process to come to meetings with your employer.

If your appeal is rejected or there was not a consultation about your redundancy, you can make a claim to the employment tribunal and seek compensation.

The employment tribunal can help with other unlawful treatment including discrimination. The tribunal is independent of the government and will listen to you and the person you are making a claim against before deciding.

If you have been made redundant, remember this isn’t the end of the road for your career. Seeking support will make the process less stressful for you and alleviate some financial concerns.

Who to call

To seek advice if you feel you have been discriminated against or selected for redundancy as a result of your disability you should contact Disability Rights UK or speak with an employment lawyer.

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