Redundancy can happen when your place of work closes or moves, either temporarily or permanently, the type of work you do will no longer be done at your place of work, or fewer employees are needed to do the type of work that you do.
A redundancy is a dismissal, and depending on the circumstances it may or may not be a fair reason for dismissal. A redundancy may be unfair if:
- It is not a genuine redundancy situation.
- The selection criteria used were unfair or selection was based on unlawful grounds, such as pregnancy or maternity leave.
- There was no consultation.
- There was a suitable alternative vacancy which was not offered.
Employers must give employees as much warning as they can of impending redundancy, and must consult with employees. This is true even if you are on maternity leave.
If your employer does offer you a suitable alternative vacancy and you turn it down unreasonably you will lose your right to a redundancy payment.
There are special rules about redundancy and maternity leave for women who are on or who have recently been on maternity leave.
Take advice if you believe that you may have been made redundant unfairly. There are strict deadlines for making claims so you should not delay doing this.
Even if the redundancy is fair, if you have been employed by your employer for at least 2 years, you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. Statutory redundancy pay depends on how much you earn a week, how old you are and how many whole years you have worked for your employer. You should also check your contract to see if your employer offers any contractual redundancy pay, as if this offers more than the statutory minimum, you can rely on the better terms offered by your employer.
When you are made redundant, whether fairly or not, you are also entitled in most cases to the following:
- Paid notice, if you have been in your job for at least a month.
- Any holiday pay outstanding up to the end of your notice period.
You should check your contract to see how much notice you are entitled to. If it does not say anything you are entitled to the statutory minimum of one week’s paid notice for each full year you have worked for your employer, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Your contract cannot give you less than the legal minimum.
Even if you are on maternity leave, you are usually still entitled to paid notice.
You can get more general advice on redundancy from Acas.
This advice applies in England, Wales and Scotland . If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.