If you’re faced with redundancy, by law your employer must treat you fairly and act in line to your contract and legal redundancy rights. This includes making sure you’re consulted, following the correct selection process and giving you a long enough notice period. If these aren’t followed accordingly, you could have a claim for unfair dismissal, or claim compensation for lack of consultation.

The Growth Company together with Citizens Advice Manchester, Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton and a network of legal partners, have set up Employment Legal Advice - a new service to help individuals across Greater Manchester to access free employment-related legal support. Our service is designed to help you access the right advice at the right time as quickly and easily as possible.

Your right to a minimum notice period

Your notice period is the amount of time between when your employer tells you that you’ll be made redundant and your last working day. According to the law on redundancy, you’re entitled to a minimum notice period of 12 weeks if you’ve been employed for 12 years or more, a least 1 week if you’ve been employed between one month and two years, and one week for each

Pay in lieu of notice

If an agreement is in place whereby your employer doesn’t want/need you to work your notice period, they will pay you a lump sum instead – this is called pay in lieu of notice – it is also taxed in the same way as your ordinary pay.

Garden leave

It may be the case that you’re asked to serve out your redundancy notice away from the office/workplace – this is known as ‘gardening leave’. This means that even though you’re not actually working, you’re still legally employed and will be paid as normal. However, you must stick to the rules of your contract, be prepared to be called back to work if needed, and you cannot start another job with a new employer.

Compromise agreements

If you’re in the situation where your employer hasn’t followed a fair procedure when selecting you for redundancy, they might ask you to sign an agreement stating that you won’t go to an employment tribunal. This is often done in return for an extra payment – this is called a ‘compromise agreement’. In this situation, your employer must pay for you to get the correct legal advice so that you can understand your rights.

Your right to consultation

Employers have to consult with their employees before dismissing them on the grounds of redundancy. In simpler terms, this means that your employer must make you aware of what’s going on and give you the chance to raise any objections or ask any questions. When working through the consultation process, employers have to consider the alternatives to redundancy, look at the ways to reduce the number of redundancies, and look at how they can reduce resulting hardship.

If there are few than 20 employees being made redundant, then your employer needs to consult with you all individually. For 20+ employees being made redundant, your employer must carry out a collective consultation – this means consulting with a union rep, or a representative for the whole group. If the employees decide not to have a representative, then consultation will be on an individual basis. The first consultation must be 45 days before the first dismissal for these larger groups.

Individual consultation

When being made redundant, your employer should arrange a meeting with you to explain what’s going to happen and why. In this meeting;

  • You can ask to be accompanied by a trade union or employee representative.
  • You can raise any objections and suggest alternatives to redundancy (e.g. shortening hours)

Your employer should consider your objections, and if they decide to still go ahead with the redundancy, they must confirm this in writing. The majority of employers will allow you the right to appeal this decision, and if they don’t offer you the chance to appeal this you can consider going to a tribunal.

If 20 or more employees are going to be made redundant, the consultation process is typically done collectively and is more structured and must involve either a trade union or employee representative.

Timeline after consultation

  1. You receive your notice.
  2. You’re given at least the statutory notice period of between 1 and 12 weeks (depending on how long you’ve been employed). If you’re taking garden leave then you’ll leave work as soon as you’re handed your notice.
  3. You’re entitled to part time off - this is usually 2 days to look for work, and also a reasonable amount of unpaid leave for this job search/training.
  4. Job ends.

Your right to take time off and look for work

If you’ve worked for your employer for 2 years or more, they must pay you up to 40% of a week’s pay to cover your time off. If you take any more time off, they don’t have to pay for it. You’re entitled to paid time off to look for work, though this amount of time has to be reasonable.

Leaving your job early

Are you in a situation where you’ve been offered another job and your new employer wants you to start before your redundancy notice ends? Speak to your current employer and see if you’re able to leave early without losing your redundancy pay. Do this in wiring and only leave with your employer’s permission, otherwise you could lose some or all of your redundancy pay.

On your last day

On your last day, your employer should provide you with the following:

  • Details of your pension
  • Any requested job references
  • A letter stating the date of redundancy
  • Your P45
  • Any redundancy pay, wages, holiday pay and other money that’s due
  • A written statement showing how your redundancy pay has been calculated.

For free employment-related legal support you can contact us by email on info@employmentlegaladvice.org or call 0161 233 2686