The employee guide to the redundancy process
Published 30 May 2023
Depending on who you listen to and what you believe the threat Artificial Intelligence (AI) is posing to jobs is increasing.
AI is the ability of machines to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence [1 cited 30.5.23]
It can be used to analyse data, recognise speech and images, and make decisions based on that data.
AI is being utilised in many industries such as healthcare, finance, transportation, and entertainment.
Several studies have shown it may remove the need for employees in many sectors. A recent study reported jobs typically held by women to be the most under threat [2 cited 30.5.23]
Earlier this month British Telecom announced plans to cut its workforce by as much as 55,000 by 2030, with about 10,000 jobs replaced by AI [3 cited 30.5.23] The use of new machinery and a different way of working can be a genuine reason for redundancy [4 cited 30.5.23]
The increasing reliance on technology, while not a new threat to jobs, will be a growing concern for many employees perhaps already fearful about their job security.
According to research carried out at the start of this year, approximately 26 per cent of the 200 organisations in the UK that took part in the study stated their intention to make redundancies in 2023 [5 cited 30.5.23] .
It means the risk of redundancy for many employees, whatever the reason for proposed job cuts, is very real.
Finding yourself in a situation where your job is under threat, can be daunting, unsettling and challenging.
So, here is our essential guide for employees facing redundancy.
How should I be informed if my job is at risk of redundancy?
You should be told as soon as possible if your employer is considering redundancies.
A meeting should take place, which includes all affected employees, not just those specifically at risk, and you should be given the following information:
- A clear explanation regarding the possibility of redundancies and the underlying reasons necessitating them.
- The number of jobs under threat.
- An outline of the subsequent steps, including how everyone will be involved in the consultation process.
You should also be given an opportunity to ask questions at the meeting.
Typically what is discussed should be provided to you in writing, and include: confirmation you are at risk of redundancy; information on any alternative options available to you, such as voluntary redundancy or redeployment; and include an overview of the plans for the consultation process.
What is the best thing to do after I have been informed I am at risk of redundancy?
is natural to feel upset and fearful, but try to stay calm and retain your composure.
Fully understanding the redundancy process you are going through is essential and it will make sure you are equipped to get the best out of a bad situation. Gather as much information as possible.
Ask for the redundancy proposal/business case in writing if it is not given to you, ask for or review your employment contract to understand any sections on redundancy and your notice period and your rights, ask HR or management any questions you have about the process.
Seek advice from a trade union of staff representative or employment expert to understand your rights.
Think ahead to help you prepare for what could happen. Update your CV, look at new opportunities and broaden your horizons and explore what financial support may be available e.g. Jobseekers Allowance
The threat of redundancy can be emotionally and mentally challenging, so take care of your mental and emotional well-being. Be open with family, friends or your support network about the situation, which can help you to cope with the stress.
Stay positive and proactive, try to keep a positive mindset and look ahead to what could be new, exciting and different opportunities that lie ahead.
TikTok star Khabane 'Khaby' Lame was made redundant from his factory job in March 2020 before he later amassed over 100 million followers on the social media site, and at one stage was described as the most popular man on it [6 cited 30.5.23]
How should I prepare for a redundancy consultation meeting?
Being prepared is crucial to ensure you can effectively participate in the process and get what is best for you out of the unwanted situation you find yourself in.
You should approach the consultation meeting with a professional and positive attitude. Keep calm, focused, and respectful throughout the discussion.
While you do not have a right to be accompanied at the meeting your employer may allow you to be, so take an appropriate companion. If your employer does not inform you that you can be accompanied, you should request if you can be.
Having a companion can provide emotional support, help with note-taking and recall, they can act as a witness, give you confidence and make you feel empowered, provide legal and procedural knowledge and an independent perspective.
Familiarise yourself with your employer’s redundancy policy, which should reflect the ACAS guidance on redundancies [7 cited 30.5.23]
Every consultation meeting is not the same and the particular steps and preparations can vary depending on your employer’s policies and the nature of the redundancy.
Make a list of any questions and concerns that you may have beforehand, as it will ensure you do not forget to raise important points.
Your employer should consider alternatives to redundancy, so think about and be prepared to discuss practical alternative solutions or suggestions you have.
What do I do if I am in a pool and my employer is using a scoring matrix to select staff for redundancy?
Preparation is again key. Be honest in the self-assessment of your strengths and any weaknesses, and be prepared to discuss and address both.
Check if your employer has any existing redundancy policy or agreement on how to set up the selection pool and criteria.
It is vital that you understand the scoring matrix, so request details of it and study it carefully prior to any meeting to discuss it.
Focus on the criteria that will be used and how you will be assessed. It will help you to clearly understand how your performance, skills, and other factors will be evaluated during the selection process.
Request a copy of your scores and how they were calculated.
Ask for a redacted copy of the scores of others in the same pool and compare them with your score if possible.
Challenge any scores that you think are inaccurate, unfair or based on personal opinions.
Understanding the scoring matrix and how it will be applied and being able to evidence your positive attributes, will help you to challenge it if you believe you have been assessed unfairly.
What can I do if I believe I have been unfairly selected for redundancy?
You do not have a legal right to appeal against a redundancy dismissal, but it is good practice for your employer to allow you to do so.
The ACAS Code recommends an appeal process should be in place [6 cited 30.5.23]
If you believe your redundancy is unfair you should write to your employer and make clear your wish to appeal the decision, and set out the reasons why.
Should your employer deny you an appeal, then you should raise a formal grievance [7 cited 30.5.23]
What can I expect to get if I am made redundant?
If you are an employee with two years’ service or more, you should receive statutory redundancy pay [8 cited 30.5.23]
You may get more than the statutory amount if it is in your contract or if your employer has a more generous redundancy policy.
You may also get other payments from your employer, such as payment in lieu of notice, holiday pay or contractual bonuses.
You should check your contract or talk to your employer to find out what you are entitled to.
If you are facing redundancy contact our Employee Support Centre for more advice and help.