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Legal experts share advice as furlough ends – including your employee rights

As the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end, it’s estimated that over one million workers will still be on reduced pay and/or working hours.
With the government no longer supporting struggling businesses by enabling them the option to place employees and workers on furlough leave, sadly, this is likely to result in many losing their jobs. 
Whilst it is hoped job losses can be avoided with alternative cost saving measures being implemented, this is unfortunately not always possible. It is therefore important to check, what do you need to know if you’re made redundant from your role?
Legal experts at Wright Hassall have shared advice on your rights if you’re made redundant, as well as what you should expect from your employer.

Top 5 tips you should know if you’re made redundant once furlough ends


1 – You’re entitled to a notice period

No matter what your situation may be, your employer would normally allow you to work your contractual notice period once they have put you on notice of redundancy.
However, there may be occasions where your employer will instead make a payment in lieu of notice to you equivalent to your contractual notice period, or place you on garden leave for the duration of your notice period, or even part of this. It is advisable to review your contract of employment to see whether this confirms your employer has a right to make a payment in lieu of notice or place you on garden leave, and the respective arrangements.

2 – Ensure your employer offers you a consultation meeting

If you are being made redundant and have over two years’ service, your employer must hold genuine and meaningful consultation with you. As part of this, they should invite you to at least one consultation meeting and if this isn’t the case, it’s important that you push for one. 
During this meeting you can obtain a better understanding as to why your employer is proposing to make your role redundant and the rationale behind this, propose potential alternatives to redundancy for consideration and ask any questions that you might have. If there are multiple roles at risk of redundancy, you should also discuss the selection criteria with your employer so that you understand how you will be scored against others who are at-risk of redundancy. 

3 – Clarify your redundancy pay

During consultation, make sure to ask for a breakdown of your redundancy pay, were you to be made redundant, how this has been calculated. You should also check your contract of employment and any company policies to ascertain whether you should receive redundancy pay over and above the statutory amount. 
Make sure to bear in mind that if you have been on furlough your pay may have been impacted prior to any potential redundancy, but this will not have any bearing on your redundancy payment. Your full normal pay should be used when calculating redundancy pay however, this is subject to a statutory cap. If you think your redundancy pay has not been calculated correctly, you should seek the advice of a solicitor. 
If you are made redundant, it is not just redundancy pay you will be entitled to, but any accrued but untaken holiday, any notice pay if a payment in lieu of notice is being made and any other sums you may be due by your employer. 

4 – Use your notice period to look for a new role

If you are made redundant, you should not wait until the end of your notice period (if you are required to work this) to plan your next steps. During your notice period, you have the right to a reasonable amount of time off work to search for a new role and attend interviews. Your employer should be aware of this but if not, it’s important you highlight your rights as an employee.
It is important to remember that your employer is required to provide you with suitable alternative employment, should there be any roles available. This is a continuing requirement, and therefore this should be regularly assessed during your notice period as well as throughout consultation. 
If you manage to secure a new role during your notice period, there is always the option to speak with your employer and see whether they will agree to waive the remainder of your notice period to allow you to start this new job early, if this is something you would like to do. However, ultimately, if your employer does not agree to this, you are contractually obliged to work the full duration of your notice period. 

5 – Seek professional help if needed

If you feel like you’re being unfairly treated during a redundancy process, you should consider speaking to a legal expert who can explore the situation with you in more detail. Such treatment could stem from being unfairly selected for redundancy, the redundancy process itself not being fairly undertaken, or you not being given the right to appeal the decision to make you redundant. There are a number of free services you can contact and people are on hand to give you the support you need.
Tine Chandler, Head of Employment Law at Wright Hassall has said the following on the furlough scheme coming to an end and what it means for workers:
“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has supported numerous UK employees and workers since the government introduced it towards the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic following an announcement from Rishi Sunak. For many, it has been a financial safety net that has helped them through difficult times but sadly, it was inevitable that it was going to have to come to an end at some point.”
“Despite multiple extensions, the Scheme finally came to an end as of 30 September 2021. With the scheme now having ended, many individuals who haven’t returned back to their normal working hours may be left feeling anxious about the months ahead and their continued employment. Whilst some businesses have been able to utilise the scheme to navigate through the tough times, regrettably, there are still many businesses struggling from the effects of the pandemic and subsequent impact of numerous lockdowns. This will undoubtedly have the consequence of a percentage of the estimated one million employees and workers left on the scheme being made redundant from their roles, in the absence of alternatives.”
“Losing a job can cause a great amount of stress, both financially and mentally, but it’s important that individuals  try to look forward and start putting a plan in place.”
“As an employee you have rights that can support you through these difficult times and it’s important you use them to your advantage. In most cases, employers will be extremely supportive and help you look for another position. However,  if this isn’t the case for you, then hopefully the tips we have shared will provide you with the knowledge of what you’re entitled to and point you in the direction of the help out there, should you need it.”

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