Redundancy usually happens when there is no longer a need for someone to do your work, for example, if the business is closing down or changes are made to the way the work is done.
Your employer has a duty to consider whether there are any alternative suitable jobs for you within the organisation. They also have to show that they have followed a fair procedure when making you redundant.
Your employer should select employees for redundancy in a fair way. They may choose based on length of service, or they may ask people to take voluntary redundancy. They may offer an early retirement package as part of a voluntary redundancy offer. If your employer has a written redundancy policy then they should follow it.
If they select someone for redundancy on one of the following reasons it would be an unfair dismissal:
- marital status
- sexual orientation
- religion or belief
- membership or non-membership of a trade union
- working pattern, eg part-time or fixed-term employees
- maternity leave, birth or pregnancy
- paternity leave, parental or dependants leave
For a full list of when redundancy would constitute unfair dismissal, see GOV.UK.
If you are a member of a union, you should receive support and advice from them to make sure that the redundancies are carried out fairly and that all alternatives are considered. You could also visit the TUC website, WorkSmart, for general information on your employment rights.
If you feel that you were selected unfairly, then you can appeal. Unfair dismissal claims could go to an Employment Tribunal – see our section on dismissal for more information.
Your employer should give you notice if you are to be made redundant. The legal minimum notice period that your employer has to give depends on how long you have worked for them. They should give:
- at least one week’s notice if you have worked for them for less than two years
- one week’s notice for each year if you have been there between two and 12 years
- the maximum 12 weeks’ notice if you worked there for 12 years or more
You should be paid through your notice period and your employer may choose to give you a longer notice period than the legal minimum.