REDUNDANCY RIGHTS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED AS FURLOUGH SCHEME ENDS
People in Caithness who are facing redundancy are being offered expert help in a new campaign by Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau.
With a shock poll for Citizens Advice Scotland this week showing that 39% of Scottish workers are concerned about their job security over the next year, and 84% of people don't know their redundancy rights, the local CAB is urging people to get informed.
The CAB has published a 10-point Redundancy Rights checklist (see below), and is offering people free expert advice on redundancy, either in person, by telephone or online.
Caithness CAB Manager Isobel Mackay says,
"This poll is really shocking, but I have to say it does chime with our experience of talking to local people who have sought our advice since lockdown began. We have seen a big increase in the numbers of people asking about redundancy, and very few of them know much about their rights when they come to us.
"With the furlough measures about to start winding down we expect to see more redundancies now, and it is really important that workers arm themselves with the information they need to make sure they are treated properly. I would hope that any employers who are laying off staff would respect their workers’ rights, but it doesn’t do any harm for you to make sure.
"Losing your job is an awful experience for anyone. You can feel lost, scared and often very alone. But our message in this campaign is that you are not alone. You have rights, and we are here to help you understand and demand those rights, and to help you enforce them if necessary. That's what our campaign this week is all about.
Caithness CAB is open telephone advice: please phone 01847 894243 or 01955 605989
Advice is also available online at
Caithness CAB’s 10 TIPS ON REDUNDANCY RIGHTS
This checklist should be your starting point when you are made redundant. We are here to help you check all of these points and also to give you further advice and support if you need it.
1. Check if your redundancy is fair.
As an employee, there are rules to protect you from being discriminated against, and for being picked for redundancy due to an unfair reason. For example, although you can be made redundant while pregnant or on maternity leave, you cannot be made redundant because you are pregnant or on maternity leave. This would count as “automatic unfair dismissal” and discrimination. Examples of unfair reasons for redundancy can include being picked because you work part-time or you made a complaint about health and safety. Read more about checking if your redundancy is fair.
2. Are you entitled to redundancy pay?
You are entitled to statutory redundancy pay, which is the minimum the law says you should receive if you’ve been an employee for two years. You won’t get statutory redundancy pay if you’ve worked for the company for less than two years, are self-employed or are in certain professions such as the armed forces or police. You may also lose out on statutory redundancy pay if you turn down a suitable alternative job from your employer without a good reason. Your employer may also pay extra money on top of the statutory amount you’re entitled to - this is called contractual redundancy pay.
3. Furloughed? Make sure you get 100% redundancy pay.
If you were furloughed and then made redundant, your redundancy pay should be based on your normal wage. If you were paid 80% of your wages while on furlough, your redundancy pay should be based on your full wage.
4. What is your notice period? You’re normally entitled to a paid notice period.
If you’ve worked for your employer for at least a month you’re entitled to a paid statutory notice period. If you’ve worked there for more than a month but less than two years, you have to be given a week’s notice. For two years or more, it’s a week for each full year you have worked, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. You may be entitled to a longer notice period as part of your employment contract. Your notice period only starts when your employer says you’ll be made redundant and gives you a finishing date - not when your employer says you’re at risk of redundancy. Your employer might decide to give you notice pay instead of your notice period - this is called ‘pay in lieu of notice’.
5. Check your holiday pay. You should be paid for any holiday you have left over when you leave.
This should be at your normal rate’s pay, even if you’re currently furloughed on 80% of your pay. You can ask to take holiday during your notice period, but it’s up to your employer to decide if you can take it then. Your employer can also tell you to use up any holiday you have left over, but they must give you notice. The notice must be at least twice as long as the holiday they want you to take.
6. You might be entitled to paid time off to look for work.
If you’ve worked for your employer for two years at the end of your notice period, you’re likely to be entitled to ‘reasonable’ time off to apply for jobs or go on training. You can take the time off at any time in normal working hours and your employer can’t ask you to rearrange your work hours to make up the time off. When taking time off to look for work, you’ll be paid at your normal hourly rate, but only for up to 40% of a week’s work - for instance for up to two days if you work a five-day week. See preparing for after redundancy for more information.
7. Check your insurance policies – some of them over unemployment.
Some insurance policies cover accident, sickness or unemployment, which can be hugely beneficial if you do face redundancy. Often people get ‘legal expenses cover’ as part of their home insurance package, but many don’t realise they can get free legal help to challenge redundancy if they think it’s discriminatory or unfair. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions and speaking to your insurer if unsure. If you have a trade union at work, you could also contact them. Your union can help you work out if you’ve got a claim, and support you through the process.
8. You can apply for emergency funding.
If you need emergency help to pay for essentials like food, gas or electricity because of Coronavirus-related redundancy, you could apply for a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.
9. Find out if you’re eligible for any Coronavirus-related support.
Numerous measures are in place to support people whose incomes have been directly impacted by Coronavirus. This includes credit card and loan help, overdrafts, car finance, and energy deals. Some changes have also been made to Universal Credit, which you can apply for to help with living expenses if you’re between jobs. There’s a five week wait between your application being approved and your first payment so it’s good to look into this sooner rather than later.
10. Don’t forget to look after your mental health.
Losing your job is an extremely challenging circumstance to go through. It is important to take care of your mental health and know where to access support. Don’t be afraid to tell family and friends your news. The chances are that they will be supportive and will be able to provide help. NHS inform has advice on accessing help, as do charities such as Breathing Space and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health).