We all hear about redundancies on the news, especially in bad economic times. It refers to when a worker is let go because their job no longer exists.

Being made redundant is not the same as getting the sack. It can be a fair reason for letting someone go, but the employer must meet particular legal requirements.

Anyone being made redundant has certain legal rights. Your employer must have objective transparent and fair process for selecting who will be made redundant.

You should be consulted in advance in order to discuss alternative options, be given reasons for the redundancy and be given a chance to try out any alternative offer of work for four weeks.

If you have at least two years of service, you are entitled to reasonable paid time off to look for alternative work or training. You’re also entitled to statutory redundancy pay and the law sets a minimum rate.

If a union is recognised where you work, they may have been able to negotiate redundancy rights and pay that exceed the statutory minimum.

Redundancy can count as unfair dismissal if your employer has unfairly picked you out for redundancy, not consulted you properly, or failed to offer you suitable alternative employment.

Some reasons can never be used by an employer to justify selecting someone for redundancy. Examples include being a member of a trade union, being pregnant, or acting as a safety representative, but there are many other examples.   

If you believe your redundancy is unfair, the best way to respond is to join with co-workers (through the union if you have one) and raise the issue collectively with your employer.

Common
questions
I've been made redundant. What payment am I entitled to?
If you're an employee with at least two years' service in your job, you're entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. You employer may offer a more generous package than the legal minimum...
I've been told I will be made redundant. What are my rights?
Those being made redundant have legal rights, including redundancy pay for those with more than two years' service
My employer has offered me a different job as an alternative to redundancy. Where do I stand?
You'll need to think carefully. If you refuse a suitable alternative post that is offered by your employer before you are made redundant, your employer may be able to refuse to pay you a redundancy payment.