Being made redundant can be a stressful experience, and if you’ve got bills to pay and a family to look after it can be particularly distressing. Whilst there are many reasons for being made redundant, unfortunately it might be the case that you, or someone you know, has been made redundant unfairly, which is why it’s essential to know about the redundancy process and what constitutes an unfair redundancy.

Can I be made redundant if my job still exists?

Whilst there are a host of reasons for legitimate redundancy, you can’t be made redundant whilst your job still exists.

Redundancy is only allowed if there’s no longer a need for the role to exist, and it certainly isn’t legal for you to be made redundant only for your job to be taken by someone else shortly after you’ve been made redundant. If you find out this has happened to you, then you may well have a case for unfair redundancy, and should contact Citizen’s Advice.

Reasons for redundancy

Here are the most common reasons you’re likely to be given if you’re made redundant.  

  • The job you were hired for no longer exists
  • The business you work for has ceased trading or is closing down
  • The business is cutting costs, and as a result has made your position redundant
  • New technology has been developed or implemented that means you’re no longer required

Please be aware that this isn’t a restrictive list of legitimate reasons for redundancy; your employer may cite another reason for making you redundant, and if you think it’s an unfair one you should seek professional advice.

What are my rights if I have been made redundant?

If you’ve been made redundant by your employer, you’ve got rights within UK law to ensure that you’re treated fairly; this includes both redundancy pay and the possibility of alternative employment within the same company.

Am I entitled to redundancy pay? 

If you’ve been working for the business for 2 years or more, you’ll get the following redundancy pay:

  • Half a week’s pay for each year you were aged under 22
  • One week’s full pay for each year you were over 22 but under 41
  • One and half week’s full pay for each full year you were 41 or older

You won’t be entitled to redundancy pay if your employer offers to keep you on, or if your employer offers you suitable alternative work which you refuse to take without giving a valid reason. You can calculate your redundancy pay here.

It’s also worth remembering that you may also be asked to work a notice period after you’ve been made redundant, which you will be paid for. The length of your notice period will depend upon the length of time you’ve worked for the business – statutory redundancy periods include:

  • At least one week’s notice if you’ve been employed between one month and two years
  • One week’s notice for each year you’ve been employed between two and 12 years
  • 12 week’s notice if you’ve been employed for 12 years or longer
Does my employer have to offer me alternative employment? 

Although your current role has been made redundant, your employer can offer you an alternative role within the business or organisation you work for – this is called suitable alternative employment.

The alternative position must be something you’re capable of doing; your employer can’t simply offer you job you aren’t suited to and claim to be offering suitable alternative employment. Whether or not you can be offered the job depends on factors including:

  • The terms and conditions of the new role being offered
  • Whether or not the job is similar to your previous role
  • Whether or not your skills and experience can translate into the new role

If the new role meets the criteria above then you may be able to move into the new job at the same company. Having said this, however, you may not want the new job due to it not having the same pay or hours as your previous one, in which case you may want to begin looking for a new job somewhere else.

How soon after redundancy can I start a new job?

Most employers won’t have any kind of restrictions about when you can start a new role after you leave them, leaving you free to start a new job whenever you please.

There are certain employers, however, who will stipulate that you aren’t allowed to take up new work for a period of time after you’ve been made redundant or given a severance package.

This is seen fairly often in industries where your knowledge about the company you’ve been made redundant from may help a rival firm (the finance industry would be a good example of this) which is why you’ll have to wait until you can start a new job in this case.

If you’ve been made redundant recently and are worried about debts, why not give our supportive and considerate helpline team a call on 0800 316 1833 for a confidential chat? Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.