Coronavirus: information and updates

Redundancy and your rights

You have certain rights if you're being made redundant or at risk of redundancy. Your employer must be fair, reasonable and transparent in their decision.

No matter how long you've worked for your employer, they cannot make you redundant:

  • because of your condition or impairment
  • or for an unfair reason

Stopping work and ill health retirement

Disability discrimination at work

If you've worked for your employer for 2 years or more

If you've worked for your employer for 2 years or more, they should:

  • consider the right group of people for redundancy
  • and choose people from that group in a fair way

The group is sometimes called a 'pool'. This might include people with the same job or from the same department. Your employer can either:

  • make everyone in the pool redundant and ask you to apply for new jobs within the company
  • or decide a fair way to choose who's made redundant from the pool

You should have at least 2 meetings with your employer to discuss your redundancy and have a chance to respond.

If you're asked to apply for a new job

Your employer might ask you to apply for a job that's different from your current or previous role. You can still apply even if your experience or skills are different. You can trial a job for 4 weeks and ask your employer to extend the trial if you need training.

You may not be entitled to redundancy payment if you turn down a suitable job. If they have another job but do not give you the chance to apply for it, ask your employer for a reason.

Other jobs your employer should offer you (Citizens Advice)

If the company you work for is closing, you can claim redundancy through GOV.UK.

If your employer decides another way to choose

Your employer must be fair in deciding who they make redundant from the pool. They should base their decision on things they can measure, like:

  • how long you've worked there
  • timekeeping
  • your disciplinary record

They can only consider your performance if they can show how they measure it.

Your employer should tell everyone in the pool what they'll base their decision on.

If 20 people or more are made redundant

A 'collective consultation' is when 20 people or more are being made redundant. Different rules apply.

The pool must have a representative. The pool can choose a union representative or another employee they trust. The pool's representative will attend meetings with the employer to make sure the process is fair.

The consultation must last at least 30 days before anyone can be dismissed.

What a collective redundancy should involve (Citizens Advice)

If you've worked for your employer for 2 years or more

Your employer does not have to show that you've been reasonably chosen if you've worked there for less than 2 years. You do not have to be part of a pool.

To check your employer is being reasonable, you could:

  • ask your employer why they chose you
  • ask colleagues if anyone else has been made redundant
  • ask how many redundancies there are

It could be an unfair redundancy if you notice similarities like everyone is disabled.

You could also check that the employer:

  • is following their own policies
  • has a genuine business reason for the redundancy

What counts as a genuine redundancy (Citizens Advice)

Your employer may ask you not to discuss your redundancy with colleagues. But you will not be breaking any rules unless your contract says you should not talk about it.

What you should do

Get everything in writing

Always follow up any phone calls or meetings with an email to your employer and include:

  • the date and time of the call or meeting
  • who you spoke with
  • what you discussed
  • what reasons they gave you for the redundancy
  • what they said would happen next

Keep all letters and emails you receive. If you believe your employer was unfair or discriminated against you, it will help your case to keep a record of any conversations.

Check your notice period and pay

Your employer must give you a notice period. This is the amount of time before you leave your job. You should get paid even if your employer says you do not have to work during that time. You may need to take formal action if they refuse to pay.

Look at your contract to see how long your notice period should be.

Your notice period during redundancy (Citizens Advice)

Your contract should also tell you what redundancy pay you're entitled to. You may get statutory redundancy pay if you've worked there for at least 2 years.

Your rights to redundancy pay (Acas)

Calculate your statutory redundancy pay (GOV.UK)

Check if it's discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace, including during redundancy.

The Act defines a disabled person as someone with ";a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [their] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

Being classified as 'disabled' under the Act is called having a 'protected characteristic'.

You can be made redundant if you're disabled. But this cannot be the reason you're made redundant.

For example, your employer uses sick leave to decide who they make redundant. They choose you because you've taken the most sick leave due to your condition. This could be disability discrimination.

Check if it's fair

Some reasons for redundancy are automatically unfair, including if you:

  • asked for rights at work, like holiday or time off for family and dependants
  • made a complaint or reported your employer
  • worked part-time or a fixed-term contract
  • were a union member or went on an official strike
  • were on jury service
  • refused to work on Sundays

Sunday working (GOV.UK)

You can be made redundant in these circumstances. But they cannot be the reason for your redundancy. It could be an unfair redundancy if you and other colleagues were made redundant immediately after an event like this.

Fair reasons for redundancy (Citizens Advice)

Contact your union

Speak with your union if you're a member. They'll help you work out what to do next.

Get advice

There may be options to get cheaper legal support through charities or by asking for pro bono (free) legal services:

Challenging redundancy

You'll need to follow your company's redundancy or appeals process to challenge your redundancy. You can take your complaint further if you're unhappy with the outcome.

Contact Acas

Get advice from Acas. They may be able to help you and your employer reach an agreement without going to an employment tribunal. This is called 'early conciliation'.

The deadline for doing this is 3 months less 1 day from the date your contract ends.

Your employer has said that your contract will end on 31 March. You have until 29 June (3 months less 1 day) to challenge your redundancy.

If your employer does not agree, Acas can give you a tribunal certificate to take your employer to tribunal. This certificate is part of the process. It does not mean that Acas believes you have a strong case.

Contact Acas for advice

Before going to tribunal

Taking an employer to tribunal is a legal process that can be long and stressful. But some people find it rewarding to get their case heard.

Find out what a tribunal will involve before deciding. Ask people close to you what they think. You may need their support.

What's it like to go to an employment tribunal? (Citizens Advice)

Making a claim to an employment tribunal (Acas)

Equality and diversity in court (GOV.UK)

You may want to get legal advice to look at the evidence you have to support your case. You may be able to get free advice through:

  • your trade union
  • your home insurance company

Check if you can get legal aid (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 05/03/2021

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