Check your employer has followed the right redundancy process

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Your employer needs to show they have a redundancy process. They can decide what the process is, but it should always include a meeting with you to talk about: 

  • why you’re being made redundant 

  • the next steps in their process

Check if your employer is making 20 or more people redundant from the same workplace. This is called a ‘collective redundancy’. There are some extra rules your employer must follow for a collective redundancy.

Make sure your employer follows a fair redundancy process

It’s important to find out what your employer’s redundancy process is. 

You might be able to challenge the redundancy if your employer has been unfair by not following their redundancy process.

Check your employer’s redundancy process 

Check your contract or staff handbook for your employer’s redundancy process. If your employer’s process isn’t written anywhere, talk to your manager or someone you work with as they might know what your employer has done before.

If you can’t find out, your employer still has to make sure you know what redundancy process they’re going to follow.

Your employer’s process has to explain:

  • how they’ll choose people for redundancy

  • how long the decision will take

  • what meetings you can go to and when

  • how you can appeal if you’re chosen for redundancy

Usually your employer has to follow their process, but they can do things differently if they have a good reason. For example, if they say they’ll meet you at a certain time but your manager is off sick, they can rearrange the meeting.

Prepare for the meeting with your employer 

You should get invited to at least 1 meeting between you and your employer. Your meeting should happen before your employer has made their final decision about who will be made redundant.

Make sure you talk to your employer about:

  • why they need to make redundancies

  • why they’re considering you for redundancy

  • what other jobs are available

  • any questions you have about what happens next

The meeting is your chance to explain why you shouldn’t be made redundant. Tell them if you don’t think they’re following their process properly or if they’ve chosen you unfairly.

It's important to talk about unfairness now, so that your employer can take this into consideration when they make their final decision.

Your employer might let you bring someone to your redundancy meeting - for example, someone from your union or HR. It can be helpful to have someone there to take notes and support you. If this isn’t mentioned in your redundancy process, ask your employer if you can bring someone. You could also ask a friend or colleague to go with you.

If your employer doesn’t follow their process

Your redundancy could be unfair if your employer doesn’t:

  • meet you individually

  • tell you about their selection method

  • tell you the reasons for your redundancy

You might be able to challenge your redundancy by making a claim for ‘unfair dismissal’ if your employer hasn’t told you these things. To make a challenge, you’ll need to have either:

  • worked for your employer for more than 2 years

  • been on maternity leave

If you’ve worked for your employer for less than 2 years, you can’t make a claim for unfair dismissal.

Check how to challenge your redundancy.

Make sure your employer has been reasonable

Your employer has to be reasonable when choosing you for redundancy. They should first consider the right group of people for redundancy, then choose people from that group in a fair way.

Check your employer has chosen the right people for redundancy

Your employer should decide who’s at risk of redundancy. This is called the ‘pool’. Your employer should tell you about the pool before choosing you for redundancy. 

Your pool could be everyone in one team or everyone with a certain job title. You might be the only person in the pool if you work for a small organisation or you’re the only person doing your job.

Being in the pool doesn’t always mean you’ll be made redundant. Your employer should tell you how many people from the pool they’ll make redundant.

Check if there are other people doing similar work to you who aren’t in the pool - especially if you’re the only person in your pool. This could show your pool is unfair.

If you think your pool is unfair, you might be able to challenge your redundancy. Start by talking to your employer about why you think the pool is unfair.

You can also talk to an adviser about challenging a redundancy if you think your pool is unfair.

Check if you’ve been chosen fairly from your redundancy pool

If your employer is creating new and different jobs, this is called a ‘restructure’. This means they’ll make everyone in the pool redundant and invite you to apply for one of the new jobs.

If your employer is keeping the same jobs but needs fewer people to do them, they must decide on a fair way to choose you from the pool. Your employer will usually give you a score based on one or more measurements, then choose the people with the lowest scores for redundancy. They can base the score on things like: 

  • your disciplinary record

  • your timekeeping

  • how long you’ve worked for them

  • your performance, if they can show how they’re measuring it

Your employer should:

  • tell you in advance how they’ll choose and score you

  • score everyone in the pool using the same method

  • show you your scores - they don’t have to show you anyone else’s scores

  • only choose the people with the lowest scores for redundancy

If you think your employer hasn’t followed these rules, talk to an adviser. You might be able to challenge your redundancy. You could also talk to the union at your workplace if you’re a member.

If you’re made redundant on holiday or sick leave

You can be made redundant, but your employer still has to meet you individually before making their decision. This usually means they should wait until you return to work.

If you’re made redundant on maternity leave

You can be made redundant, but your employer still has to meet you individually before making their decision. 

Your employer should arrange a meeting at a time and place that’s easy for you, or agree to call you if you don’t want to come to a meeting. You might be able to use one of your keeping in touch days so you’re paid for your time.

Your employer should talk to you at around the same time as anyone else they’re considering for redundancy. If they tell everyone else earlier than you, this could be maternity discrimination and you might be able to challenge your redundancy.

If you’re part of a collective redundancy

You’re part of a ‘collective redundancy’ if your employer is making 20 or more people redundant at the same workplace.

Your employer has to hold a group consultation if there is a collective redundancy. You’ll either be:

  • invited to a group meeting with all people at risk of redundancy

  • represented by someone like a union rep at a meeting with your employer

You should check with the union or staff representative group for your employer’s collective redundancy process.

Make sure you still get your individual meeting about your redundancy with your employer - even if you’re part of a collective redundancy you’re still entitled to this.

Check who your employer should consult

If there’s a union at work, your employer should consult representatives from the union.

If there isn’t a union, your employer should consult representatives from their employees. Your representatives could be a group that already exists, such as a staff forum. If a group doesn’t already exist, you should be given a chance to vote for who will represent you.

Check what your employer’s consultation should involve

Your employer should give your representatives written details of:

  • why they’re making redundancies

  • how many people they’re making redundant

  • which areas of the business they’ll choose people from

  • how they’ll choose who to make redundant

  • how they’ll work out redundancy payments

  • what process and timeline they’ll follow

Check with your representatives if they don’t give you all of this information.

Check when the group consultation should happen

The group consultation must start at least 30 days before anyone’s job ends.

If 100 or more people are being made redundant, group meetings must start at least 45 days before anyone’s job ends.

If your employer doesn’t hold a group consultation

You might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal if your employer should have held a collective redundancy but didn’t. 

You could get an award of up to 90 days’ pay, depending on how badly your  employer has behaved. This is called a ‘protective award’.

You need to have been made redundant to win a protective award - being at risk of redundancy isn’t enough.

You have 3 months less 1 day from the day the last person in your redundancy group leaves the organisation.

You’ll need to fill in an ‘early conciliation’ form before you take a claim to an employment tribunal - check how to use early conciliation.

If you need help with this, talk to an adviser.

If your workplace has a union, they have to make the claim to an employment tribunal. 

If you’re not a member of the union, you should still check with them about getting a protective award if they win a claim.

Page last reviewed on 30 March 2023