By James Green, assistant solicitor, Lawrence Graham
1. Your employer has an obligation to consult you about the redundancy. They must explain why it is taking place and discuss ways to avoid it.
2. If you are part of a pool of people who are at risk of losing their jobs, ask to see the criteria that your employer is using to select candidates for redundancy. Using length of service as a criterion may be discriminatory on grounds of age or sex (as women are less likely to have long service) and you can challenge it.
3. Your employer has an obligation to find alternative employment for you within the business. Ask to see a list of current vacancies. You can ask for a trial period in the new post without losing your right to a redundancy payment.
4. If you are invited to a meeting to discuss a redundancy, you can ask a colleague or your trade union representative to attend.
5. If you are dismissed as redundant, you are permitted a right of appeal. It’s rare for a decision to be changed but the right to appeal is there and you should exercise it.
6. If you have two years’ service, you are entitled to a redundancy payment by law – a week for every year of service or, if you are over 41, one and a half weeks for every year. However, the weekly figure is capped at £330 in both cases. But check the staff handbook as some employers offer enhanced redundancy payments. Don’t be afraid of negotiating.
To make an employee redundant, an employer must:
1. Use objective selection criteria to identify which employees are at risk.
2. Write to each employee to invite them to a meeting before a decision is made. This should include a discussion of the reasons for the redundancy, a consideration of ways to avoid it and whether there is alternative employment within the business.
3. Write to the employee to invite them to a further meeting, at which they have the right to be accompanied by a colleague.
4. Write to the employee to confirm the redundancy and offer the right of appeal.