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Here we take a look at ways of dealing with redundancy.
Being made redundant is often one of our biggest fears at work. Yet many people that have been through redundancy have gone on to take new roles and challenges that have proved very rewarding.
So, while there is no doubt redundancy is a stressful situation, it is always helpful to stay positive.
Understanding your rights and position is an important part of this, so that you’re ready with the right questions and knowledge at every stage.
Often there is talk of redundancy long before any official announcements. This can often be the most stressful stage, as your colleagues share their concerns and no-one is certain of who will be at risk. The thought of losing your job is always worrying, and the older we are, the greater the feeling that it will be difficult to find another job. Try to remain positive until you get the information, as sometimes rumours can be unfounded.
Your employer should consult you both individually and collectively (with a recognised trade union or elected staff representatives) if 20 or more posts are going to be made redundant.
The reasons for the redundancy should be set out in writing, and you should be invited to at least one meeting to explore ways to avoid the redundancy, comment on the basis for selection, and consider other roles with the company.
Your notice period can only begin once this consultation is finished, which must last at least 30 days when 20 or more posts are made redundant (90 days if there are 100 or more).
The length of your notice period is usually set out in your employment contract.
The statutory minimum is one week if you have worked for your employer between one month and two years, and a week per complete year of service beyond two years, up to 12 weeks.
The biggest question in all of this is usually ‘How much redundancy will I get?’
If you have more than two years of service, you are also entitled to a redundancy payment. As a minimum this is half a week, a week or 1.5 week’s salary per year of service, depending on your age.
There are some steps you could take to avoid, delay, contest or negotiate your redundancy. Use consultation to ask as many questions as possible. This may delay the end of the consultation period and buy you a few more weeks in employment.
Question whether there is a genuine redundancy situation. Suggest ways to avoid redundancy, for example suggesting job sharing, pay cuts, part-time working, etc. The more realistic your proposals, the harder it is for your employer to brush it away.
Check which posts are at risk. If one of your colleagues is doing a similar job to you, they should also be facing redundancy. Ask for details of the scoring of each of those in the selection pool and the supporting evidence, and argue if there is any obvious discrepancy with your colleagues.
If contesting the redundancy isn’t an option, or doesn’t help, you’ll need to find a new role. Often employers will run workshops and provide other support to help you find a new job – from CV writing advice to interview tips. Do take advantage of these as they will help you feel more confident about your next step. Equally, treat every job interview as a learning experience. Each one will take you closer to your new job.
Depending on your redundancy package, you may have a degree of freedom to consider your next move. Many people use redundancy as a springboard to pursue a new career direction – whether it’s as a freelancer, retraining in a new vocation or starting your own business.