In this gloomy economic climate, many businesses are tightening shoestrings and making cuts wherever possible just to survive. Unfortunately, this is leading to the greatest redundancy figures for decades, and while scores of people are being left without a job, hard-nosed businesses are doing what they can to pay out as little as possible to those out on the streets. However, there are measures in place that mean that you should walk away with a fair redundancy package – and if not, there are steps you can take.

Notice and Payment
The first thing to do is check the small print on your contract. This will let you know what kind of package you could be looking to receive, and how long your notice period will be. Your period of notice starts at one week if employed for between a month and two years, and then is calculated at a week per year of employment, to a maximum of 12 years. This can be paid in lieu, if your contract is terminated, but full wages, plus all extras, must still be paid.

If you’ve been with the company for more than two years, you are entitled to half a week’s pay for every year of employment, if you are between 18 and 21. For those over 21, this rises to a full week’s pay per year of employment, and then 1.5 week’s pay if you’re older than 45. This runs to a maximum of 20 years, however, and is capped at £330 a week. To check your entitlement, you can use a redundancy pay calculator.

Negotiations
If you believe what you have been offered isn’t a fair reflection on your time with the company, you can always try to speak to your employers to try to get a little extra. The maximum amount you can receive as a payment before the taxman comes knocking is £30,000, so you could try to get any amount on top of this paid into a pension fund.

If there is no budging on a cash settlement, try and negotiate over things such as your notice period or even company possessions (if no one is using your work laptop, then why not ask to have it?). For more advice on how to negotiate your redundancy package, you can always speak to trained professionals with years of experience at Instant Law Line.

Collective redundancies
If you’re one of over 20 employees being made redundant within 90 days, consultation is mandatory between the employer and a trade union rep or an elected employee rep. The consultations will cover how to avoid redundancies or keep them to a minimum, and whether a retraining program can be implemented. For batches of redundancies of up to 99 people, the consultation period should be 30 days prior to any dismissals taking effect, or 90 days if there is a greater number.

Contesting your redundancy
There are a few different ways an employee can select who is to be made redundant, including the last-in-first-out method, asking for volunteers for redundancy or looking at disciplinary records and appraisal markings, skills and qualifications.

If you think you’ve been unfairly made redundant due to a discriminatory reason, such as age, religion, or exercising any of your statutory rights, then you will be able to contest your employer’s decision.

You can also bring the decision to an employment tribunal if you don’t think your company has tried to find you a suitable alternative job, either within the company or associated businesses, or if you are still unhappy with the amount of redundancy payment being offered. To read more about redundancy, and your rights, check www.gov.uk/redundant-your-rights, or get in touch with legal professionals for advice and help, to make this difficult time in your life that little bit easier.

Written by Jimmy Sheehan, a writer and blogger with past paralegal experience.

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