Made Redundant due to Coronavirus

Andrew Boast
28/04/2020
80
5 min read
Made-Redundant-due-to-Coronavirus: Advice from Employment Law Friend

The spread of Coronavirus, also called COVID-19, in the UK and across the world has brought the economy to a near halt, and left millions of people working shorter weeks, being placed on Furlough or being made redundant.

The Picturehouse cinema chain is one of a number of employers who have flouted UK employment law legislation on redundancy after staff were made redundant with immediate effect following the shutdown of cinemas in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst an employer can make redundancies, whether they made Redundant due to Coronavirus or for another reason, your employer must follow a fair process set out in law.

An employer is allowed to make redundancies when an employer requires fewer people to do the type of work the employee was employed to do. However, employers are also supposed to consult with employees on an individual basis before making them redundant to consider whether there are any other options available.

Given all of the measures that the government has put in place in the shape of the Job Retention Scheme in most cases an employee who has been made redundant will likely be able to argue that they should have been furloughed rather than being made redundant.

Employers have to consult the employees they intend to make redundant depending on how many redundancies they intend to make. For up to 19 employees, employees should at the very least receive a letter about the proposed redundancy and be given the option of attending a consultation meeting. Where there are over 20 employees to be dismissed within 90 days or less employers must meet collective redundancy legislation and consult with trade union representatives (if recognised) or employee representatives if no trade union is recognised.

Individual consultations
Employers must explain to employees that there is a redundancy situation and that the employee's job is at risk. The possibility of alternative work must be discussed. If you are an employee you can raise suggestions about alternative work before an employer can fairly dismiss. If you are an employer you are obligated to consider employee suggestions. Employees should also be allowed time off to seek other employment.

An employer cannot just make you redundant because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

What is the redundancy process?

Whether there is an outbreak or not, by law the company must follow this process for all employees:
  • give you notice of how long before you'll be made redundant (up to 2 years = 1 week's notice, 2 to 12 years = 1 week per year, over 12 weeks = a maximum of 12 weeks)
  • keep paying you until you leave your job after the notice period
  • pay you redundancy pay - What redundancy pay are you due


Dismissal notices
Employers must not send out dismissal notices until the consultation has taken place. If you are an employee you have a right to appeal against selection for redundancy. If you've been employed for four weeks or more, you must be given at least one weeks' written notice, stating that redundancy is the reason for your dismissal. And once you've been employed for two years or more you are entitled to one weeks' notice for every year you have worked, up to a maximum of twelve weeks.

If your employer doesn't give you the correct notice period, or pay you correctly in lieu of notice, or pay you the correct redundancy pay, they may be in breach of your contract.

If you have been made redundant along with at least 19 other employees, and your employer did not consult you or give the requisite notice, you may have an unfair dismissal claim.

To make a claim for unfair dismissal an employee must:

  • Have been continuously employed for two years
  • Claim within three months of dismissal
  • Not fall under certain limited excluded categories

What can I claim?

An award of compensation for unfair dismissal generally consists of a basic award and a compensatory award. The compensatory award is intended to compensate the employee for financial losses suffered as a result of the unfair dismissal.

Have you been made redundant due to Coronavirus?

Don't just accept what your employer has done. Raise a grievance today by writing to your employer and get them to confirm the redundancy procedure they undertook. Then you'll see whether it was fair or not. If you don't know what to write then you can download our Coronavirus Redundancy Grievance Letter Template. If you come up against a brick wall with your employer then get in contact with us and our employment law solicitors can help you protect your rights.

For further advice you may find these links useful:


Redundancy Grievance Letter

Whether you need help drafting your Redundancy Grievance Letter or want us to handle your application to the Employment Tribunal, our solicitor provides specialist advice at competitive rates. We will even help you work out whether you have a case worth pursing.

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This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of our company. For employment law advice please get in contact and speak to your employment law solicitors.
 
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