Being made redundant is undoubtedly a difficult and distressing time. Many people often feel unsupported and alone when trying to navigate through the process of identifying a possible alternative to replace lost income and work.
However it’s important to know that you’re far from powerless in the face of redundancy and in fact there’s plenty you can do to fight your corner.
Your legal rights
If you have been made redundant take a look at your contract of employment which sets out your rights to redundancy pay and notice. You should be entitled to the statutory legal minimum redundancy pay, providing you have worked there for at least two years. This includes half a week’s pay for every continuous year of service under the age of 22, a full weeks pay for every full year between ages 22 and 41, and 1.5 of your weekly pay for every full year after 41.
Calculate your entitlement and ensure your employer has given you the right amount. Remember the first £30,000 of redundancy pay is tax free and statutory redundancy pay is limited to £430 a week. If they try to undercut these minimum limits then complain. Go to your employer first and if talks break down seek legal advice.
Large companies which are forced to make a substantial number of cuts of more than 20 posts within 90 days are legally obliged to consult a recognised union which can negotiate a redundancy package on your behalf.
If there is no union, employees can appoint their own representatives to fight on their behalf.
Remember redundancy isn’t the same as being fired
You must be aware being made redundant isn’t the same as getting the sack and employers should not exploit it to get rid of someone. If your company ignores the correct procedures, or is hiding the real reason for letting you go, you may be able to claim unfair dismissal. This should initially be raised with your employer however if this fails seek the help and advice of an employment law specialist as you could end up facing an employment tribunal.
Manage your time effectively
While you are in the process of consultation you can’t afford to simply sit back and see what transpires. When deciding what to do when made redundant people often fall into two groups. There are those who are passive and those who are dominant. Passive people are prone to sitting back and relaxing before seeing what’s out there.
However this is a time were you need to act quickly to examine all of your options going forward. Dominant people will look at the question of what to do when made redundant with a real sense of urgency and investigate all opportunities as well as considering a list of short-term options such as part-time work or even claiming job-seekers allowance to bring in a bit of income while looking for work.
About the author: DSM Legal solicitors provide support and advice regarding employment law. Visit http://www.dsmlegal.co.uk/ or call 0845 009 0863.