What if I've been made redundant?
Redundancy generally happens when an organisation needs fewer people to carry on its business.
If your employer needs to make some staff redundant, they do not have to follow the same procedures as if they were dismissing you for other reasons. They should still try to be as fair as possible in deciding how many people they make redundant and how they choose them. Before they decide, they should speak to staff to see if they have any ideas about how to avoid the redundancies.
If you are chosen from a group of employees to be made redundant, your employer should explain the criteria they have used to choose people. These criteria should be objective (based on facts) and could include factors such as:
- your disciplinary record;
- your attendance at work and timekeeping; and
- how long you have worked for your employer.
Even if there is a genuine cause for redundancy you may still have been unfairly dismissed if your employer has not followed a fair procedure to choose you. This could be if your employer, for example:
- did not properly consult staff;
- used unfair criteria for choosing people to be made redundant; or
- did not offer you an alternative position when they could have done so.
If you want to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you must normally have been employed for at least a year.
If you are made redundant after more than two years’ work, you will be able to claim a statutory redundancy payment. This is worked out in almost the same way as the basic award for unfair dismissal (see 'How compensation is worked out').
You must make a claim for a statutory redundancy payment within six months of finishing your job.
If your employer will not pay, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal.
If you think you were made redundant unfairly, you cannot usually claim both the basic award and a statutory redundancy payment.
There are separate rules for when an employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within a 90-day period. Before making people redundant, the employer must consult trade unions that represent the workforce or, if there are no such trade unions, representatives chosen from the employees involved. The period of the consultation should be at least:
- 30 days, if the employer wants to make between 20 and 99 employees redundant; or
- 90 days, if the employer wants to make 100 or more employees redundant.
If the employer doesn’t do this, the employees may be able to claim compensation.
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