With the furlough scheme due to end on 30 September, Citizens Advice has set out your essential checklist if you’re facing redundancy.
The charity’s frontline advisers have supported nearly 45,000 people with redundancy issues since the pandemic began - equivalent to one person every four minutes.
Matthew Bradbury, Senior Employment Expert at Citizens Advice, said:
“If you’re at risk of redundancy, it’s important to know you do have rights to help protect you from unfair dismissal and to ensure you’re paid what you’re owed.
“It’s completely understandable that you may find the rules and procedures overwhelming, but you don’t have to face redundancy alone. If you’re struggling, check our website or contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.”
The charity has set out the seven things anyone at risk of redundancy should check:
- Check if your redundancy is fair. There are rules to protect you from being discriminated against, and from being picked for redundancy due to an unfair reason. For example, although you can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave, if this is the reason for doing so, it counts as automatic unfair dismissal and discrimination. Other examples of unfair reasons for choosing someone for redundancy include being picked because you work part-time or you made a complaint about health and safety. See Check if your redundancy is fair for more information.
- Check how much redundancy pay you get. You’re entitled to at least ‘statutory’ redundancy pay if you’ve been an employee for two years or more. The amount you will get depends on your age and how long you have worked for the company. Some employers make enhanced contractual redundancy payments on top of the statutory amount.
- Furloughed? Make sure you get 100% redundancy pay. If you are made redundant while furloughed, your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wage and not the 80% that you’ve been getting during furlough.
- Check your notice period. If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a month you’re entitled to paid notice that you’re being made redundant. After one month in the job, you must be given one week’s notice, rising to two weeks after two years service, and then a further week per year unemployment up to a maximum of 12 weeks. You may be entitled to a longer notice period as part of your employment contract. Your notice period only starts when your employer confirms that you’re going to be made redundant and not when you’re only at risk of redundancy. Your employer might decide to give you notice pay instead of making you work your notice period - this is called ‘pay in lieu of notice’.
- Check your holiday pay. You’ll be paid for any statutory holiday you have left over when you leave. This should be at your normal pay rate, even if you’re currently furloughed on 80% of your pay. Your employer can tell you to take any remaining holiday during your notice period as long as they give you the right notice (two times the length of the holiday they want you to take).
- You might be entitled to paid time off to look for work. If you will have worked for your employer for at least two years by the end of your notice period, you’re entitled to ‘reasonable’ time off to apply for jobs or go on training. You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours and your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off. When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, but only for up to 40% of the time you take off - for instance for up to two days if you work a five-day week. The rest will be unpaid. See preparing for after redundancy for more information.
- Check if you’ve got legal help via your home insurance. Often people get 'legal expenses cover' as part of their home insurance package, but many don't realise they can get free legal help to challenge their redundancy if they think it’s discriminatory or unfair. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions and speaking to your insurer. If you have a trade union at work, you could also contact them. Your union can help you work out if you’ve got a claim, and support you through the process, for example by going to meetings with you or negotiating on your behalf.