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 about the redundancy, it comes entirely out of the blue. The aftereffect can be quite a shock to the system. The worst part of redundancy is that it’s not you. It’s not your fault.

Nothing is your fault, and you did not break any contractual agreements or regulations. It’s just simply that your position within the company is no longer needed. And that’s the most challenging part of all, what makes it so much worse than just being let go. Not only is it not your fault, but your company also no longer needs you. 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 this 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 optimistic despite the emotional effect.
If you suspect any foul play in your redundancy, the best thing is to learn your redundancy rights, so you can support yourself if you take your case further.

CORONAVIRUS AND THE WAVE OF REDUNDANCIES

In July 2020, it looked as though the Coronavirus grip on employment was beginning to loosen. But then the Guardian released a report just after lockdown saying 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 reducing, and closures were inevitable. Opening hours were restricted. Social distancing measures were limiting both staff and customer numbers. Small businesses started closing due to a lack of funding. With all of this came the skyrocketing numbers of redundancies.

As of Tuesday 2 December, the UK saw a staggering 262,279 redundancies. Over 9.5 million people in the UK are still on furlough or flexi-furlough. Aviation, hospitality and retail were hit the hardest. British Airways saw 12,000 redundancies, and Debenhams totalled 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, it’s easy to believe that redundancy numbers could worsen, especially with so many people relying on furlough.

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 primary redundancy rights are as follows:

1. The grounds for redundancy should be because the job you are doing is no longer needed. Generally, this can happen if your employer is changing:

  • What the business does
  • Location
  • The way that they work
  • Closing all or part of the business.

2. 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.

3. You will always need a redundancy consultation if your employer is cutting 20 or more jobs at one time.

4. If you 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 you receive from your redundancy comes from age, salary and the length of time that you worked in your position.

REDUNDANCY RIGHTS: UNFAIR DISMISSAL AND GROUNDS FOR DISPUTE

No matter your employer’s reason for redundancy, the basis of it still has to be fair and just. It must comply with the Equality Act 201.0. You can only be redundant because your position within your company is void. If you think your redundancy is 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, it’s easier for redundancies to increase. It’s essential to make sure the grounds for your redundancy are legitimate. However, some employers are using 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 is unfair and your redundancy rights were violated, you can appeal to appeal against your employer. 

Most reasons for appealing a redundancy are when the employer bases their selection on your characteristics. Alternatively, they may not have followed a fair redundancy process.

You can appeal directly to your employer 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 they will reinstate your contract.

However, if the employer rejects your redundancy appeal and still wants to take it further, you can 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 redundancy process, although emotional, should be relatively painless.

However, when complications arise, we are here to support you. It’s never okay for your redundancy to be discriminatory or unfair or for your employer to withhold money from you.

It’s okay to have any questions about what your rights are or to question your redundancy. We can help by connecting you to an LGBT Lawyer today.

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.

Need an LGBT Lawyer on your side?

We’re here to assist. Just tell us what you need help with and we’ll call you back to arrange a meeting.

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