Redundancy: Know Your Rights!

Article published on 26th June 2008

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Although in these articles we offer tend to promote the importance of insurance cover, particularly in case of loss of income (such as with income protection insurance), it is worth pointing out that being made redundant isn't quite the same as being shot down in flames without any warning.

For instance, your employer is legally obligated to use demonstrably objective criteria to discern who might be at risk and they must consult all effected employees as soon as possible about potential redundancies. Everyone is permitted to have a colleague or legal or union representative with them during redundancy meetings.

You are free to ask to see whatever criteria were used to decide who will be made redundant and if you are unhappy with the methods used or reasons given you can always appeal to an independent tribunal - in fact your bosses are required to remind you of your right to appeal when they send approach you with a redundancy notice.

Remember, however it might feel at the time, redundancy is not at all the same as being fired and employers have to both explain why the redundancy is happening as well as look at potential ways to avoid it.

In fact there is an obligation upon your bosses to find other work for you within the company if your last job became redundant. This doesn't mean they have to create a job for you that isn't there, but it does mean you can ask to review all the current vacancies in your company and try for them if you have the required experience and qualifications. You can even try a new job within the company for a trial period to see if you are suitable for it (and vice-versa), all without effecting your right to your redundancy payment.

The redundancy payments are protected by law and you are eligible for one if you have worked for two or more years service at the company. The payment is generally a week's pay for every year you've worked there, unless you are 41 or over in which case you ware entitled to one and a half weeks's pay for every year you've worked there - although in both of these cases the pay is capped at £330 per week.

Some employers offer a more substantial redundancy payoff so be sure to check with your official employment paperwork to check what you are due.

A decent redundancy package can often cover most of your costs until you find a new job or until an income protection policy becomes active.

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