Google, Amazon and Meta are just a few of the tech companies to announce worldwide redundancies impacting UK staff, with further cuts expected across the tech industry in coming months. So what are your legal rights if you are made redundant?
Length of service and other legal entitlements
- If you have been working for your employer for at least 2 years by the time you are made redundant you are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment, which is based on your age, weekly pay and number of years in the job. Please see a link to the Government's redundancy pay calculator: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay
- You are also entitled to your notice and a payment in respect of any accrued but untaken holiday.
- It is also worth checking whether your employer has any contractual redundancy policies which entitle you to additional payments.
Is the redundancy genuine and fair and has your employer followed a fair process?
If you have at least 2 years' employment, you have the right to claim if you have not been dismissed fairly for redundancy. This means that your employer must:
- Demonstrate that a genuine redundancy situation exists.
- Identify an appropriate pool of employees for selection. While there are no set rules about how the pool should be defined, it should have a reasonable basis.
- Consult with individuals in the pool. You should be invited to at least 1 individual meeting with your employer to discuss the potential redundancy. It is important that:
- Consultation takes place when the proposals are still in development;
- You are provided with adequate information and sufficient time in which to respond (i.e. that the consultation process is not rushed); and
- Your employer genuinely considers your response to the consultation and any ideas you put forwards.
- Apply objective selection criteria. These criteria should be measurable and capable of independent verification rather than based on personal opinion.
- Consider suitable alternative employment, where appropriate.
You would have a claim for automatic unfair dismissal regardless of your length of service if you have been chosen because of an "automatically unfair reason". (Please see a link to a list of these reasons: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/redundancy/check-your-rights-if-youre-made-redundant/redundancy/check-if-your-redundancy-is-fair/fair-reasons-for-redundancy/).
You may also have a claim for discrimination regardless of your length of service if you have been made redundant at least partly because of a protected characteristic (age, sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, being pregnant or on maternity leave, religion or belief, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership) or on the grounds of fixed-term or part-time status. For example, the use of attendance records as a selection criterion could raise issues of sex and/or disability discrimination as it could disadvantageously and disproportionately impact women who have childcare commitments or employees whose absences are connected to their disability.
It is therefore important that you fully understand the reason for your redundancy so you can confirm there is a genuine business reason for the redundancy of your role.
How many people are at risk of redundancy?
If your employer is making 20 or more people redundant at one establishment in 90 days or less, they are required to file an HR1 form and to inform and consult your elected employee representatives or recognised trade union. An Employment Tribunal may award up to 90 days' gross pay per employee covered by the award where there has been a breach of the duty to inform and consult, making it a potentially expensive error for an employer to make and a point of leverage that you can refer to in settlement negotiations.