Careers & Employment

Redundancy: Your Rights And Next Steps

Businesses across many different industries are finding themselves struggling to make ends meet, and unfortunately it’s often the employees who pay the price. While the government have tried to offer support in the form of options such as the furlough scheme and new types of low-interest business loan, the reality is that many companies are starting to lay off staff. We’re going to answer some common redundancy questions to help you understand what happens if your job is made redundant.

How much pay am I entitled to?

Workers are only entitled to statutory redundancy pay after two years with their employer. At this point, the amount that you’re entitled to will be based on how long you worked their and your age at the time. You can calculate how much you’re owed here. In many cases, employers choose to offer additional payment as a goodwill gesture, however they are not obligated to.

What is ‘suitable alternative employment’?

If your employer no longer needs you in your current role, they may choose to offer you ‘suitable alternative employment’. This means the opportunity to take up a different position in the company. It needs to be appropriate for your skills and also suitable in terms of the pay and benefits offered.

Sitting at desk across from manager being interviewed

You can choose to turn this offer down, but if you do then you’ll also waive your right to redundancy pay. Employers who have suitable alternative employment available but don’t offer it to you may be guilty of unfair dismissal. Finally, if you’re offered work that you don’t believe is suitable, you would need to challenge the company at an employment tribunal.

Can I be made redundant while on furlough?

Yes – being furloughed won’t necessarily protect you against redundancy. If a business doesn’t believe that your job will be viable once lockdown has ended, then they may choose to make you redundant rather than keep you on as part of the government scheme. Your rights will be the same as if you had been made redundant under ordinary circumstances.

Do I need to work a notice period?

Your employer needs to give you notice of at least one week before making you redundant – and if you’ve been at the company for several years then this notice period will be longer. You can negotiate this with them if you wish to leave earlier, but you will need to work the notice period that’s agreed. If you decide to leave earlier without their written agreement then it may be classed as a resignation, and you will lose your eligibility for redundancy pay.

What should I do after being made redundant?

There are a few different steps to take to help you deal with your redundancy. One thing to consider is whether to have a short break before seeking new employment.

Applicants sitting in queue preparing for interview.

Although many won’t have this luxury, if your finances allow you to take a week or two to yourself, it may help you get some clarity. Then, do the following three tasks:

  • Apply for benefits. You may be entitled to some extra money to help you through until you’re able to find new work. Check the government website to find out more.
  • Dust off your CV and start applying for new work. This is an opportunity to reflect on what you liked and disliked about your old job, and apply for work that helps you to move forward.
  • Revise your budget. You may be able to save by cutting down on discretionary spending – consider whether there are subscriptions or services that you can cancel, or areas to cut back in your weekly shop.

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