With the government’s furlough scheme due to close at the end of October, Citizens Advice Mendip are seeing a rise in the number of people with redundancy and benefits queries.
By law, depending on the number of people they are getting rid of, employers have to allow a fixed number of days’ notice for redundancy consultation. If this is something you are facing, it can feel a bit like being in the waiting room for losing your job. But it’s important to know you have rights to help protect you from unfair dismissal and ensure you’re paid what you’re owed.
“It’s completely understandable that you may find the rules and procedures overwhelming, but you don’t have to face redundancy alone. We can also advise on what benefits you may be entitled to and how to carry on paying your bills. If you’re struggling, contact us for help.” says Ian Byworth, CEO of Citizens Advice Mendip.
Here are the seven things anyone at risk of redundancy should check:
- Is your redundancy fair? There are rules to protect you from being discriminated against, and for being picked for redundancy due to an unfair reason. For example, although you can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave, you cannot be made redundant because you’re pregnant or on maternity leave. If you are, this counts as “automatic unfair dismissal” and discrimination.
- How much redundancy pay should you get? You’re entitled to statutory redundancy pay, which is the minimum the law says you’re entitled to, if you’ve been an employee for two years. The amount you will get depends on your age and how long you have worked for the company. You won’t get statutory redundancy pay if you’ve worked for the company for less than two years, are self-employed or are in certain professions.
- Furloughed? Make sure you get 100% redundancy pay. If you were furloughed and then made redundant, your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wage, not your furloughed one.
- What’s your notice period? If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a month you’re entitled to a paid statutory notice period. If you’ve worked there for more than a month but less than two years, you have to be given a week’s notice. For two years or more, it’s a week for each full year you have worked, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. You may be entitled to a longer notice period as part of your employment contract.
- What holiday pay are you entitled to? You’ll be paid for any holiday you have left over when you leave. This should be at your normal rate of pay, even if you’re currently furloughed on 80% of your pay. You can ask to take holiday during your notice period, but it’s up to your employer to decide if you can take it then. Your employer can also tell you to use up any holiday you have left over, but they must give you notice.
- Are you entitled to paid time off to look for work? If you’ve worked for your employer for two years at the end of your notice period, you’re likely to be entitled to ‘reasonable’ time off to apply for jobs or go on training. You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours and your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off. When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, up to a maximum of 2 days if you work full time.
- Do you have legal help via your home insurance? Often people get ‘legal expenses cover’ as part of their home insurance package, but many don’t realise they can get free legal help to challenge their redundancy if they think it’s discriminatory or unfair. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions and speaking to your insurer if unsure. If you have a trade union at work, you could also contact them.
For more detailed information and advice, visit the Citizens Advice ‘Leaving a job’ page. You can also access free, independent and confidential advice from Citizens Advice in Mendip. Following government advice, their offices are currently closed for face to face sessions, but please visit their website www.citizensadvicemendip.org.uk for details of how to contact them online, by email and by phone. Alternatively, you can contact their Adviceline on 03444 88 9623.