Redundancy is usually a dismissal when a role is no longer needed.

When does redundancy happen?

ACAS says your employer should consider making redundancies only if part or all of their organisation is:

  • Closing or has already closed.
  • Changing the types or number of roles needed to do certain work.
  • Changing location.

If you are dismissed for some other reason, perhaps because of issues around your performance or conduct, this is not redundancy. In these circumstances, your employer must have followed a disciplinary or capability procedure before dismissing you.

Your employer could examine options other than redundancies – for example, changing working hours, offering voluntary redundancy or moving you into a different role. If your employer does move towards selecting anyone for redundancy, they must follow a consultation and selection process.

Your employer must follow a fair redundancy process if you will have worked for them for at least two years when your job ends.

Redundancy FAQ August 2020
  • 04 Aug 2020
  • Publications

Voluntary redundancy

If your employer intends to make redundancies, you can put yourself forward for redundancy before you are selected. This is 'voluntary redundancy'. This may result from your employer asking for volunteers, or you may approach your employer and volunteer. You should put any request in writing and follow your employer's voluntary redundancy procedure, if they have one.

Your employer does not have to accept your request for redundancy. They are entitled to consider the needs of their business as a whole. For example, your employer may decide you are an essential component if your skills and experience would be hard to replace.

Your employer does not have to offer voluntary redundancy to everyone. But you may have a case for discrimination if you think they prevented you volunteering because of a 'protected characteristic' such as your sex, age or disability (see Discrimination and Equality, including Protected Characteristics).

Consultation – individual or collective?

The rules around what sort of consultation process your employer should carry out depends on the number and timing of any redundancies, and where they are being made. By law, any consultation must begin 'in good time'.

Whenever consultation takes place, it should take account of equality issues. If your employer is a public sector body, or a private sector organisation providing public services, they are bound by the Public Sector Equality Duty. It is often appropriate for an equality impact assessment to be carried out in these circumstances, to ensure the redundancy proposals address equality issues (Law at Work 2020, p 413). These assessments are required by law in Scotland and Wales.

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