Legal advice from Parveen Bunglawala, a specialist employment solicitor, at FDR Law, Palmyra Square, Warrington.
Q: Redundancies are likely to be made at our company this year. What rights do employees have if management decides to cut the workforce?
An employer cannot just sack any worker without undergoing a proper consultation process or offering a minimum level of redundancy pay. If your employer decides to reduce the workforce, there are a number of complex legal procedures he or she must follow before you can be asked to leave.
People must be selected for fair and objective reasons, not because of their gender, race, age or disability. Redundancies cannot take effect without a 30 day consultation (20-99 job losses) or 45 day consultation (over 100 job losses). This should include discussions about ways to avoid redundancies such as recruitment restrictions, alternative jobs, voluntary redundancy, early retirement or overtime restrictions.
Employers may offer an alternative role within the organisation. This must be suitable in terms of similarity to a current role or comparable salary, status, hours and location. If it is and you decline it, an employer does not need to pay redundancy.
Workers must have been employed for two years or more to qualify for statutory redundancy pay. This is:-
- half a week’s pay for each full year worked (age 22 or under)
- one week’s pay for each full year worked (aged 22- 41)
- one and a half week’s pay for each full year (aged over 41)
Statutory redundancy pay under £30,000 is not subject to tax. If you accept voluntary redundancy, you must be given the opportunity to consult an independent solicitor to protect your rights in any settlement agreement. This is often funded by the employer.
If your employer does not stick to the letter of the law governing the termination of your employment contract, you’re entitled to seek compensation from an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.
If you’re in any doubt about your rights, we can provide you with timely professional expert advice – it may save you a fortune in the long run. For a free initial phone consultation, contact me on 01925 230000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org