The workshop

Managing redundancy

Every issue, OT  poses a scenario from a practitioner. This time, we’re tackling redundancy

animation of employees
Getty/Tatiana_Stulbo

The scenario

Hassan, optometrist

“I work for a small chain of independents, which closed for all but urgent and emergency care during the lockdown, with all staff being furloughed. Since we returned to work there have been rumours of stores closing and staff being made redundant. Although there are no redundancies confirmed as yet, I’d like to be fully prepared and know my rights in case this does happen.”

The advice

Liz Stephenson, head of employment at the AOP

It’s an unfortunate reality that, as the furlough scheme winds up, many more people are going to find themselves at risk of redundancy.

Liz Stephenson
Liz Stephenson, head of employment at the AOP

Whilst the prospect of leaving a job involuntarily can be daunting, the best thing to do if facing this situation is to prepare yourself accordingly. The AOP can offer guidance on redundancy rights including pay, notice periods, time off to look for work, and can also offer steps for further support.

Redundancy pay

Once you know that your position is at risk, you should check your contract to see whether there are any contractual enhanced redundancy pay provisions. If there are, ask for a copy of these. It’s important to note that if there has been a practise of paying more than the statutory minimum in the past you may be able to rely on this precedent.

If there are no enhanced redundancy pay provisions, those with more than two years of service will have the right to statutory redundancy pay. This is calculated as follows:

- Half a week’s gross pay per complete year of service under the age of 22
- One week’s gross pay per complete year of service between the ages of 22 and 40
- One and a half week’s gross pay for each complete year of service when aged 41 and over

Caps on redundancy pay include:

- A cap on a week’s pay of £538
- A maximum of 20 years’ service

Calculate the statutory redundancy pay you could be entitled to, to make sure that this is reflected accurately in your redundancy settlement

 

You can calculate the statutory redundancy pay you could be entitled to, to make sure that this is reflected accurately in your redundancy settlement. You may be entitled to more than this under the company policy.

Notice and time off to look for work

Check your contract to confirm how much notice you are entitled to. Under statute, you will be entitled to at least one week’s notice per year of complete service (assuming you are over 22), up to a maximum of 12 weeks. This is the minimum entitlement, and you may be entitled to more.

Those who are under notice of redundancy and who have more than two years of service also have the right to reasonable time off to look for work.

Your consultation period 

You will have consultation meetings with your employers in which you agree on the terms of your redundancy. Your settlement and any time off you might need to look for a new role should be discussed here. You’re unlikely to know exactly when you’ll have job interviews at this stage, but you should make it clear that you expect reasonable accommodations to be made when needed, especially if your notice period is a long one.

If your employer has also mentioned supporting you in further training or other provisions, this is also the point at which you should get these things agreed.

Further support

If you are in need of legal advice, you can contact the AOP employment team. To get in touch email [email protected], letting the team know the date of any meeting in the subject line. This will allow the team to prioritise any meetings that are sooner rather than later.

You should also send the employment team your contract of employment and any other relevant documents, such as employee handbook or relevant correspondence. Make sure you include a copy of your redundancy letter.

If you would like to arrange for a trade union representative to attend your consultation meetings with you, make sure you contact the above email and let the team know as soon as you are invited to the meeting.