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Employment rights

Surviving the recession – your employment rights

If you are one of the unlucky employees of the one in three companies currently making or considering redundancies, there has never been a more important time to know your employment rights. The law offers some protection as your employer must show that they have fair reasons for making your redundant and must follow a fair process.

Question – Does my employer need to tell me that they are considering making a redundancy?

Answer – Yes, your employer needs to send you a letter warning you of potential redundancies, before any decision is made. There needs to be an open minded consultation in larger firms or in circumstances where a number of people are considered for redundancy there are statutory time limits that apply setting down a minimum period of notice.

In smaller firms an employer must still consult all employees who are at risk.

Your employer must have a selection criteria which is fair and objective. They should then arrange a first meeting.

Question – Can I take somebody with me to the meeting?

Answer – Yes, you are entitled to take a long a trade union representative or work colleague. You are also entitled to ask your employer to put that meeting back for up to 5 days to give you time to find somebody to take with you.

Will I be dismissed at that meeting?

Answer – No, at that stage a decision should not have been made and your employers should still be exploring ways to avoid making redundancies. If you make an offer to your employer suggesting solutions, for example job sharing or reducing hours or pay then they must consider it.

Your employer should then invite you to a second meeting to confirm their decision. If that decision is to make you redundant you must be given the opportunity to appeal that decision.

If you are made redundant you are entitled to full notice pay and a redundancy payment which is a statutory amount payable calculated using a formula. You may in addition be entitled to a contractual enhanced payment.

Question – What do I do if I feel I have been treated unfairly?

Answer – If you feel you have been treated differently from other employees you may be entitled to free legal advice from either an employment solicitor under a Legal Aid Scheme or The Citizens Advice Bureau. If you are unhappy with your employers decision you need to act quickly as there is a three month time limit from the day that you were dismissed to launch a challenge.

If you are at risk of redundancy or feel that you have been unfairly dismissed within the last three months then Everett Tomlin Lloyd & Pratt will be able to offer a free 30 minute consultation if you quote the reference at the bottom of this article.

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