The definition of redundancy is simple enough. A redundancy occurs when the position, not the person, is made redundant.
A redundant position does not necessarily arise by the abolition of the work. A person can claim redundancy in a variety of circumstances, such as if the employer relocates the workplace, making attendance too difficult for the employee. In this instance, that employee would demand redundancy and should not be forced to resign without one.
Redundancy often brings with it a valuable tax-free payment. Some companies seek to avoid paying out a redundancy to minimise costs.
Let’s face it, many employers see paying redundancy as giving money away.
Therefore, some companies choose to performance manage an employee to the point of dismissal rather than pay out a redundancy. In extreme cases, an employee can be targeted for dismissal on the grounds of serious misconduct. That carries a stigma that may prevent the employee from easily gaining future employment.
In a genuine redundancy situation, the company should consult the affected employee(s) early. This will be followed by declaring the position(s) redundant. Then, every effort should be made to find a suitable alternative role within the company. If that cannot be done, proper notice and a redundancy payment should be made.
What counts as an unfair redundancy?
An employer is not entitled to substantially change the employee’s role without offering the employee the option of redundancy. Usually, a promotion will be welcome by an employee but if, for example, the employer merely demands that the employee increase their hours from three to five days per week, the employee may reject that offer and demand a redundancy because the three days per week role is redundant.
It is unlawful for employers to target employees who are pregnant, in poor health, or have parental responsibilities in a non-genuine redundancy situation.
You are entitled to a redundancy payment which is proportionate to the length of your employment. Payment can range from 4 to 16 weeks of pay. However, if you take advice, you might also receive additional compensation for damage to reputation, humiliation or pay in lieu of notice.
If you feel like your employer is not complying with the process, take advice and speak to McDonald Murholme. Our employment lawyers have handled thousands of unfair redundancy or unfair dismissal cases for employees like you.