If you have been dismissed or are faced with the prospect of dismissal, there are several organisations and support networks to assist you and provide you with vital information at a very stressful time. We have put together this information which we hope is helpful to you.
If you are made redundant, it is important to ensure that you have been paid the sums due from your employer.
After 2 years’ continuous employment with your employer, you will be entitled to a redundancy payment. The amount of this payment is dependant upon your age and length of service (up to a maximum of the previous 20 years):-
Up to 21 - ½ week’s pay for each full year of service
22 to 40 - 1 weeks pay for each full year of service
41/+ - 1 ½ week’s pay for each full year of service
The current cap for a “week’s pay” is £400. The maximum statutory redundancy payment is therefore £12,000 (on the basis of an employee who has served 20 years, all of which occurred when they was 41/+).
Your employer may have provided for a more generous redundancy scheme. Should your employer pay above the statutory minimum redundancy payment, up to £30,000 of the total money paid will be free from income tax and NI contributions.
You are also entitled to a minimum notice period before you are made redundant (or to be paid this in lieu). The statutory notice period of 1 week for every complete year of service (up to a maximum of 12 weeks) will apply unless your contract provides a longer period. Your employer must give you a reasonable amount of time off to allow you to look for alternative employment provided that you will have been employed for a continuous period of 2 years at the end of your notice period.
Further advice / guidance is available from the following organisations:-
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills www.bis.gov.uk/
Unfair Dismissal Claim
If you believe that your dismissal was unfair you should consider raising a Tribunal Claim depending on the circumstances. The Employment Tribunals Service provides guidance in relation to raising a Tribunal Claim (www.employmenttribunals.gov.uk/). We would recommend that you take professional advice to ensure any claim is raised correctly and within the tight time limits which apply.
Employers And Insolvency
If your employer becomes insolvent and cannot pay your wages, you should contact the Redundancy Payments Office and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for assistance.
The Redundancy Payments Office is part of the Insolvency Service and deals with claims from workers for unpaid wages (up to a maximum of 8 weeks), redundancy payments, holiday pay (up to maximum of 6 weeks) and notice pay (1 week’s pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks). All these payments are subject to the current statutory maximum of £400 per week.
Guidance can be found at www.insolvency.gov.uk/guidanceleaflets/Guides.htm#2 . The Redundancy Payments. Helpline is 0845 145 0004 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
HMRC also deals with other benefits including statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay. If an employer has failed to pay these, an employee (as well as taking Tribunal action) should inform HMRC of their employer’s failure.
Looking For A Job
You should make sure your former employer will provide you with a reference. Although you cannot force an employer to do this, it can be a significant advantage when seeking a new job.
Recruitment Agencies will be able to provide general advice in relation to the job market and provide introductions to employers with vacancies for roles which may suit your skills.
Career Counselling is also available to assist you.
It is important to take advantage of networking opportunities and keep in touch with existing contacts who can provide you with information on jobs within companies which have not yet been advertised.
The TUC have a website providing information on redundancies at: www.worksmart.org.uk
Jobcentre Plus has an online database of vacancies within the UK together with information on how to update your CV and further advice on looking for employment: www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/JCP/index.html
Skills Development also provides information in relation to training or learning new skills: www.skillsdevelopment.co.uk/. They have specific advice relating to Scottish matters at: www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/
The Scottish Government have launched an initiative called Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). PACE is being delivered by Skills Development Scotland and the help available includes help with finding work, applying for jobs, finding training and careers advice. There is a helpline number on 0808 100 1855, or you can visit their website: www.careers-scotland.org.uk/redundancy
In England, the Careers Advice Service gives valuable information on dealing with redundancy at: http://careersadvice.direct.gov.uk/helpandadvice/redundancy/
DirectGov provides information in relation to claiming benefits: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/index.htm The Citizens Advice Bureau can assist with providing information on benefits and filling in forms: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Mortgages And Repossession
An obvious repercussion of dismissal is difficulty in meeting your financial obligations. The Government has announced several initiatives to assist homeowners.
Shelter provides information on mortgage rescues schemes which may allow you to continue living in your home, with it being bought by non-profit housing association: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/getadvice/advice_topics/paying_for_a_home/mortgage_arrears/
Further information on others parts of the UK is available on the Shelter website: www.shelter.org.uk
Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance is worth considering. This is offered by many insurance companies and banks. However, it must be remembered that normally the payments will only be covered if the insurance was taken out before you were aware that your job was at risk
The best advice in relation to debt is to always be realistic and face up to the problem as soon as possible. There are several organisations which will assist you in organising your finances including Citizens’ Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Other organisations such as the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, a leading voluntary advice and debt management organisation (www.cccs.co.uk) and the National Debtline (www.nationaldebtline.co.uk) can offer The UK Government also provides detailed debt at advice through the DirectGov website which can be found at: www.direct.gov.uk/en/moneytaxandbenefits/managingdebt/index.htm. Specific guidance from the Scottish Government can be found at http://www.moneyscotland.gov.uk/das/MoneyScotland/Homepage