Skip navigation

Redundancy

Q

I am making employees redundant and one of them tells me there is a right to time off work with pay, to look for other work. Is this correct?

A

All employees given notice of dismissal because of redundancy are entitled to reasonable time off with pay to look for another job or to make arrangements for training for future employment, providing they have been continuously employed by their employer for at least two years. The law does not specify the amount of time off which would be regarded as reasonable. The obligatory statutory payment is limited in law, to a maximum of two-fifths of a week’s pay calculated on the appropriate hourly rate. If you require more information on Redundancy the Agency’s Guide  - Advice on handling redundancy covers issues such as redundancy related time off.

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

My boss has asked me to calculate statutory redundancy payments which are due. Can you help?

A

Statutory redundancy payments are based on an employee’s age and length of service, subject to a maximum of 20 years service counted and a cap on a week's pay. Only employees who have 2 complete years service are entitled to receive a redundancy payment.  The Redundancy Ready Reckoner which can be accessed here, statutory_redundancy_pay_table.pdf, can be used as a guide to calculate redundancy payments.

Further information on Statutory Redundancy Payments is available from nidirect(opens new window)and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

How long should redundancy consultation be?

A

The law requires employers to consult with employees who are at risk of redundancy.  Consultation must begin at least:

  • Thirty days before the first of the dismissals takes effect (that is, when the employment contract is terminated) in a case where between 20 and 99 redundancy dismissals are proposed at one establishment within a period of ninety days or less;
  • Ninety days before the first of the dismissals takes effect (that is, when the employment contract is terminated) in a case where 100 or more redundancy dismissals are proposed at one establishment within a period of ninety days or less.

The law does not provide definitive time scales for consultation when less than 20 employees are to be made redundant, but employers are still required to carry out reasonable consultation in these circumstances.

Further information and guidance on Redundancy Consultation and Notification is available in the Agency’s Advisory Guide Advice on handling redundancy  and at  nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

Can I issue redundancy notices before the consultation period is finished?

A

The European Court of Justice, ruling on the case of C-188/03 Irmtraud Junk v Wolfgang Kühnel, suggested that an employer should not issue notice of termination of employment on the grounds of redundancy until the statutory consultation periods (30 or 90 days) have been exhausted.  Failure to adhere to the statutory consultation periods could result in claims for protective awards being taken by disgruntled employee representatives.  

Further information and guidance on handling redundancies is available in the Agency’s Advisory Guide Advice on handling redundancy

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

I need to make 5 people redundant, how do I decide who to select for redundancy?  

A

It is good practice for employers to agree selection criteria with employee representatives before applying these criteria to the employees who are at risk of redundancy.  Some of the selection criteria commonly used includes:

  • Skills or experience;
  • Standard of work performance or aptitude for work; and
  • Attendance or disciplinary record.

The criteria should be unbiased, fair and consistent. The employer should put an appeals procedure in place for those employees who feel that the selection criteria have been unfairly applied in their case.

Further information and guidance on redundancy selection criteria is available in the Agency’s Advisory Guide-Advice on handling redundancy

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

I have been selected for redundancy and I think that this is unfair as I have more experience and longer service than anyone else; what can I do about this?

A

Employers should chose redundancy selection criteria which are non-discriminatory and can be objectively measured.  It is no longer recommended that length of service is used as a selection criterion because, for example, it can be viewed as potentially indirectly discriminating against younger workers who may have less service.  In your organisation service may not have been a redundancy selection criterion.  

If, however, an employee feels that they have been unfairly selected for redundancy because, for example, the criteria were not fairly applied an employee who has one complete year’s service at the date of termination may challenge the redundancy dismissal through the Industrial Tribunal.  

You may wish to appeal against the redundancy dismissal in the first instance.  If the decision to dismiss is upheld and you feel you have a case for unfair selection for redundancy (unfair dismissal) you will need to obtain an application form, called an ET1,(from a job centre), complete it and return it to the Office of Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunals (address on form) within 3 months of the effective date of the termination of your contract (don’t leave it too late, and check when the ‘clock starts to tick’ regarding the 3 month time limit).

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

Once you have lodged your claim an officer from the Labour Relations Agency will contact you and he/she will try to resolve your complaint before going to tribunal.  This process is known as conciliation and is a very effective method of dispute resolution with an 80% success rate. If you require more information on Disciplinary matters or Grievance matters go to the Agency’s Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures which came into effect on 3 April 2011

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

Can I use length of service as a criterion for selecting people for redundancy?

A

The policy of using LIFO (last in first out) where employees with shorter service are usually first selected for redundancy is no longer recommended.  This is because this criterion, though equally applied to all, has the potential of putting a particular group at a disadvantage.  For example, younger workers are more likely to have less service than older workers; therefore applying length of service could result in younger workers being selected for redundancy, which would be contrary to the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.  

Further information and guidance on redundancy selection criteria is available in the Agency’s Advisory Guide Advice on handling redundancy

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

My employer has closed and has said he cannot pay our redundancy payments; can we do anything about this?

A

If you employer has become legally insolvent you may be able to make a claim for redundancy and other payments due, through the Department for Employment and Learning - Redundancy Payments Service.  nidirect (opens new window) and nibusinessinfo (opens new window) provide guidance for employees on their rights if their employer is insolvent.  

For more information download the  Agency’s publication Insolvency Information Pack

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

I am being made redundant and my employer has offered me another job; am I still entitled to a redundancy payment?

A

No, if you have been offered continued employment as an alternative to redundancy you are not entitled to receive a redundancy payment.  This is because your employment is continuous and will not come to an end.  If however, the new role is different to the one you previously held you are entitled to undertake a trial period of 4 weeks in the new role, which can be extended for retraining purposes by agreement.  An employee who feels that the alternative employment is not suitable at the end of the trial period is entitled to receive a redundancy payment and their contract will come to an end. However, an employee who continues to work works on past the trial period will be deemed to have accepted the alternative employment.  Further information on employee’s rights in a redundancy situation is available from nidirect (opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top

Q

Our employer has sold the business to someone else and has told us we are not entitled to redundancy payments, is this right?

A

The situation you describe could potentially be viewed as a transfer of an undertaking to which The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) and Service Provision Change Regulations apply.  The aim of these Regulations is to safeguard the employment of employees who work in a business that is transferred.  When a transfer covered by the Regulations takes place, the contracts of employment of all the employees and the rights and obligations arising from those contracts are automatically taken over by the new employer (transferee).  The contract is not terminated but treated as if it were originally made between the new employer and the employee concerned and continuity of employment is preserved.  Therefore, because your employment has not come to an end on the grounds of redundancy you are not entitled to a redundancy payment.

Further information on a transfer of an undertaking is available in the Agency’s Information Note  Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)

See also nidirect   and nibusinessinfo

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

back to top