Redundancy and coronavirus: your rights

Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on businesses across the country. Job losses are as damaging as they are inevitable. So, how does the pandemic affect your redundancy rights?

What are standard redundancy rights?

Whether you’re being made redundant due to coronavirus or for any other reason, your employer must follow a fair process. If they don’t (or they don’t even have a redundancy process), you could be entitled to make a redundancy claim.

Find out more in our guide, ‘Can I make a redundancy claim?’

There’s no set process – it depends on the company and its reasons for redundancy. You should look in your company handbook for how it will be handled.

But, in general, your employer must:
  • Meet with you to consult on the redundancy
  • Explain why they’re making job cuts and the  expected timeline
  • Offer a reasonable alternative role if available
  • Explain how to appeal your redundancy

Raise any concerns you have – whether over the  fairness of the decision or the redundancy process – during any redundancy-related meetings.

If you were made redundant after September 23rd 2020, your employer could potentially temporarily re-employ you, so you can at least continue receiving money under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which furloughs employees on 80% of their salary.

Remember, this is entirely at the company’s discretion. You’ll need to ask your employer if they’re willing to do this. They may be reluctant to put you back on the payroll until the scheme ends in April 2021, since the scheme still costs the business money.

How does COVID-19 affect my redundancy?

Your workplace rights don’t change because of coronavirus.

However, you may note some changes to the process. For obvious reasons, consultations and meetings (and any later hearings should you appeal the decision) may take place online, rather than face-to-face.

COVID might be the primary reason for redundancy. That could mean the shift to home-working means your services are no longer required, or it could mean the organisation is shutting down. Both would likely be fair and genuine reasons for making you redundant.

The selection process could also be altered. In some cases, redundancies are performance-related – and that’s not an easy thing for your employer to prove when half the workforce has been furloughed and the other half are working from home.

If you have any doubts about being chosen for redundancy, speak to employment solicitors to find out if you need to take action.

Can I make a redundancy pay claim when I’m furloughed?

Furloughed employees who have served for two or more years are still entitled to redundancy pay. By law, any money due must be paid based on your normal salary, not the 80% furlough salary.

That should include any relevant notice period pay, holiday pay, and money your employer owes you. But there are exceptions. The government notes that, you’re ineligible ‘if you have been dismissed then re-employed under the furlough scheme.’

Your notice pay, though, could be cut – and that’s very much based on individual circumstances. Discuss the matter with your employer or a third-party employment expert to make sure you’re getting your full entitlement.

During the redundancy process, your employer could invite you to sign a settlement agreement, which includes notice pay. At this stage, you’d do well to negotiate a higher rate, if you believe you’ll receive less than expected. Don’t immediately sign any agreement without first seeking legal advice.

Explore your options in ‘Life after redundancy: making life easier’


What if I’ve been unfairly made redundant?

Your employer must be able to demonstrate that the selection process was genuine and fair – no matter whether COVID-19 was the driving force behind the selection.

If you have reason to believe you’ve been unfairly dismissed from your job, you should first appeal the decision with your employer. Follow the process outlined in your company handbook. Bring evidence of why the selection process was flawed or why you’re facing workplace discrimination.

Doing so will most likely lead to further meetings with your employer. If the redundancy is genuine, they should have no issue proving the need to cut your job.

You could also find an employment solicitor who will advise you on your redundancy rights and guide you through any legal action, such as making a claim at an employment tribunal or petitioning to receive money not forthcoming from your employer.

The Law Superstore’s quick quote form lets you compare and connect with solicitors who take the time to help you make a redundancy claim.

Steve Clark

Steve creates helpful guides for The Law Superstore. He enjoys digging deep into new areas of the law, supporting partners, and translating legalese and jargon into plain English everyone can understand.

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