Redundancy Rights: Coronavirus and Unemployment

by | Dec 3 2020 | Employment Disputes

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Kitty Leask LGBT Lawyers
By Kitty Leask
Kitty is the latest addition to LGBT Lawyers' team. A member of the LGBT community herself, Kitty dedicates her time to promoting the LGBT fight for equality and is here to help all of our clients find the right lawyer to support their case.

Redundancy Rights | Read Time 8-10 Minutes. 

Knowing your redundancy rights is an essential part of going through the redundancy process.

Generally, when you find out you’re going to be made redundant, it comes entirely out of the blue. The after effect can be quite a shock to the system.

The worst part of being made redundant is that it’s not you. It’s not your fault.

You haven’t done anything wrong; you haven’t broken any contractual agreements or regulations. It’s just simply that your position within the company is no longer needed. And that’s the hardest part of all, and in some ways, what makes it so much worse than just being let go. Not only is it not your fault, but you’ve also been told that you’re no longer “required”. That your position is irrelevant and that there is no use for you in the future.

How do you cope with that? Being told that you’re not needed in the future will undoubtedly make you feel like your past work was worthless.

The most important thing to do if you’ve been made redundant is to know what your redundancy rights are. To stay strong and positive despite the emotional effect.

If you suspect any type of foul play in your redundancy, the best thing is to be educated on your rights, so you can support yourself if you take your case further.

CORONAVIRUS AND THE WAVE OF REDUNDANCIES

In July 2020, we believed that the Coronavirus grip on employment was beginning to loosen. But then the Guardian released a report just after lock down that predicted the “UK could be up to 15% unemployment” if we went into a second wave of the virus.

With businesses both small and large closing around the country, staff teams found themselves being ruthlessly reduced. Opening hours were restricted. Social distancing measures were limiting both staff and customer numbers. Small businesses started closing due to lack of funding. With all of this, came the sky rocketing numbers of redundancies.  

As of Tuesday 2 December, the UK has recorded a staggering 262,279 redundancies. Over 9.5 million people in the UK are still on furlough or flexi-furlough. Aviation, hospitality and retail have been hit the hardest. British Airways saw 12,000 redundancies and Debenhams totaled 16,200 since March. Leading bank HSBC witnessed a whopping 35,000 over the year.

As we watch the virus bring the UK’s economy to a halt, its easy to believe that redundancy numbers could worsen, especially with so many people being funded by furlough. 

I’ve been made redundant: what are my redundancy rights?

When you are made redundant you have a right to a fair process, a minimum notice period and a consultation. Your main redundancy rights are as follows:

  1. The grounds for redundancy should be based on the fact that the job you are doing is no longer needed. Generally, this can happen if your employer is:
  • Changing what the business does
  • Changing location
  • Changing the way that they work
  • Closing all or part of the business.
  1. Your employer cannot make you redundant on the spot. The amount of time that you have worked with the company will define your notice period.
  2. You will always be entitled to a redundancy consultation if your employer is cutting 20 or more jobs at one time.
  3. If you have worked continuously for your employer for two years or more, you have a legal right to redundancy pay. There is a statutory minimum, but your employer can choose to pay you more if they want to.

The amount of money you receive from your redundancy is calculated from your age, your salary and the length of time that you have worked in your position.

REDUNDANCY RIGHTS: UNFAIR DISMISSAL AND GROUNDS FOR DISPUTE

No matter your employers reason for redundancy, the basis of it still has to be fair and just.

It must be equal and comply with the Equality Act 201.0. You can only be redundant on the grounds that your position is no longer needed within the company that you work for. If you think you have been made redundant for any other reason, such as sexual orientation, gender or race, you can appeal this decision at a tribunal.

With so many businesses closing down or changing because of the virus, its easier for redundancies to be thrown around. It’s important to make sure your grounds for redundancy are legitimate. But it has been reported that employers have used the pandemic to “cut off excess fat.” If you think your employer is using the pandemic to hide an unfair redundancy, you can use this as another grounds for dispute.

The ACAS website has extra information on your various rights during redundancy and what grounds for dispute there may be.

LGBT Lawyers Unfair Dismissal FlowChart

redundancy rights: What to do if you want to appeal your redundancy

If you believe that your redundancy has been unfair and your redundancy rights have been violated, you can appeal make an appeal against your employer. Most reasons for appealing a redundancy are when the employer has based their selection on your characteristics. Alternatively, they may not have followed a fair redundancy process.

You can appeal directly to your employer, either through an appeals process, or by directly writing them a letter explaining why the redundancy is unfair.

The employer can then either accept your appeal, whereby your contract will be reinstated and you will be paid as usual.

If the employer rejects your redundancy appeal, and you still want to take it further, you can make a claim at an employment tribunal; at this point, you can get legal assistance involved.

 

Let us take some of the weight off

As long as your know your redundancy rights, the process of being made redundant, although emotional, should be relatively painless.

However, when complications arise we want you to know that you are supported. It’s never okay for your redundancy to be discriminatory or unfair, or for any entitled money to be withheld from you.

It’s okay to have any questions about what your rights are, or to question your redundancy. We can help and advise you throughout the process.

Our redundancy page has a variety of information and facts about redundancy. It also has all of the LGBT Lawyers contact information and everything we will be able to do to support your case.

No case for us is too big or too small and we appreciate how difficult being made redundant can be. Don’t be afraid to get in contact with us today, for advice and help with your claim.

 

 

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