Your employer has responsibilities to treat you fairly and follow the correct process if they are considering making redundancies. They should think about any alternatives to making you redundant. Get an overview of your rights if you are facing redundancy.
What is redundancy?
Redundancy is dismissal from your job, caused by your employer needing to reduce the workforce. Reasons could include:
- new technology or a new system has made your job unnecessary
- the job you were hired for no longer exists
- the need to cut costs means staff numbers must be reduced
- the business is closing down or moving
If your employer is making fewer than 20 employees redundant in one establishment it is an individual consultation.
If your employer is making 20 or more employees redundant in one establishment within a 90 day period it is a collective redundancy.
Collective redundancies generally occur when there is a:
- business or building closure, meaning your employer no longer needs as many employees
- reorganisation or reallocation of work
- Relocation of work
Your right to consultation
Employers should always consult with you before making you redundant. The consultation should aim to provide you with a way to influence the redundancy process. The consultation will normally involve:
- speaking to you directly about why you have been selected
- looking at any alternatives to redundancy
- applying dispute resolution procedures when required
If this doesn't happen, your redundancy may be unfair dismissal.
If your employer is thinking about making collective redundancies they have a duty to consult with the potentially affected employees' representatives.
If your employer doesn't consult the representatives, you may be able to make an Industrial Tribunal claim for a protective award. This is an award of up to 90 days' pay.
Redundancy selections and notice periods
Your employer should use a fair and objective way of selecting people to make redundant. It should
be evidence based rather than your employer just deciding who they want to make redundant.
Normally your job must have disappeared for your employer to make you redundant. It is not redundancy if your employer immediately takes on a direct replacement for you but it will not matter if your employer is recruiting more workers for work of a different kind or in another location (unless you were required by contract to move to the new locations).
However, it can still be a genuine redundancy if someone moves into your job after their job disappears, making you redundant (called bumping). This can be difficult for your employer to justify as fair and you will still qualify for a redundancy payment so long as no vacancy exists in the area (type of work and location) where you worked.
If your employer bases your redundancy selection on an unfair reason you may be able to make a claim to an Industrial Tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Redeployment by your employer
If your employer is making you redundant they should try to offer you suitable alternative employment within their organisation or an associated company. Your employer should consider any alternatives to making your redundant.
If you are entitled to statutory redundancy pay the calculation is based on:
- how long you have been continuously employed
- your age
- your weekly pay, up to a certain limit (£490 current maximum)
You should check your employment contract to see if your employer offers a more generous redundancy package.
Help when being made redundant
The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues for residents of Northern Ireland. You can contact the LRA on 028 9032 1442 from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday.
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can provide free and impartial advice.
If you are a member of a trade union, you can get help, advice and support from them.