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Your redundancy rights

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Redundancy is one of the defining aspects of recessions, and always one of the most damaging for people. However, whilst it is common, this will likely to be of no comfort for people who experience it, and being made redundant as often described as being traumatic, stressful and distressing.

You have entitlements

Generally, people are made redundant from companies, when employers need to reduce their workforce, and its implementation is often attributed to economic factors. However, when an employee is made redundant, they legally qualify for certain rights that have been designed to make the process less painful. These rights manifest themselves in the form of measures such as redundancy pay, notice periods, discussion with employers, options for redeployment into alternative areas of a company’s operations and paid time off in order to secure future employment. In short, it is both highly unethical, and indeed illegal for an employer to terminate an employee’s tenure without implementing these obligations, and yet, sometimes due to unintentional negligence and ignorance of the redundancy process- employers can fail to do this.

Who is selected for redundancy and why?

From a legal standpoint, for a person to be selected for redundancy they need to satisfy certain criteria. For instance employees with the shortest service lengths are chosen initially, and there should also be a procedure in which workers can volunteer for redundancy and be provided with statutory redundancy packages.  An employer will also take several other factors into account, such as the history of disciplinary actions, how an employer performs within a job and how their skills, expertise and work experiences compare with their colleagues. This is intended to make the procedure, fair and objective, and employers may sometimes be subject to a process in which they effectively re-apply for their own jobs in order to assess this.

Redundancy rights

However, there are certain factors which should not inform the decision making process, and despite being illegal, can sometimes happen. These factors include variables such as gender, marital status, family commitments such as caring for children, sexuality, ethnicity, age, membership to trade unions and other organisations that safeguard the rights of the workforce, physical and mental health, maternity and paternity rights and any past assertion of statutory rights. Unfortunately it would be foolish to suggest that these factors have never informed decision making processes in the past, but if you feel you have been selected for redundancy unfairly, there are formal steps you can take to seek justice- within the guise of an employment tribunal- in which all members of the workforce with PAYE tax status are legally entitled to.

If you are selected for redundancy, it is important to be aware, that if you have worked for the company for two or more years you are automatically entitled to statutory redundancy pay. This consists of: half a week’s pay for each full year when under the age of 22, one week’s pay for each full year between the ages of 22 and 41, and one and a half week’s pay for each full year of service if you are 41 years old or over, at the time of being made redundant.

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