Many businesses across the UK have found themselves in a situation they could never prepare for and the current COVID-19 pandemic has left many employers struggling. Unfortunately, this, in turn, has had an effect on employees too and many are facing redundancy as their employers are still unable to work as normal. It goes without saying that Coronavirus has hit the economy and almost all businesses incredibly hard and whole sectors are struggling as they’re unable to operate in line with the government’s new rules and guidelines.
There is so much confusion surrounding working during this time and this has caused many employees to look into where they stand in relation to being made redundant due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, with the assistance of employment solicitors up and down the country, we have put together a brief and easy to understand overview of the current situation in this regard. It is however important that you stay on top of advice provided by the government as the situation is changing daily, so things are subject to change.
An overview of being made redundant
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many companies have found themselves in this situation where they are having to downsize or even permanently close down, and this is forcing them to make their employees redundant. The first important thing that all employees should know is that if you’re made redundant during this time, your employment rights remain the same and they are in place to protect you.
When you’re made redundant, specific things such as the length of your employment and whether you’re legally classed as an employee will affect the rights that you have, so it is worth looking into things in relation to your specific situation. However, in general, when being made redundant, employees are entitled to things including; redundancy pay, a notice period, the option to move into a different job and time off to find new work.
How the government are trying to prevent mass redundancies
It is likely that you will have heard the term ‘furlough’ and this is something that is being spoken about frequently amongst employers and employees alike at the time. The government has put in place a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the important thing to be aware of in relation to this scheme when you’re an employee is furlough. Essentially, being furloughed is when you’re sent home because there is no work but, you’re still kept on the payroll and you will be receiving some form of income.
Currently, the government is providing financial support for any employees who are being furloughed and HM Revenue & Customs are reimbursing 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs to their employers, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, so they can afford to keep their staff. It goes without saying that this has been a lifeline for many businesses. Things are beginning to change in relation to the furlough scheme however and you should ensure that you’re up to date with the guidance.
All employees should know that if you were made redundant right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, on or after 28 February 2020, then your former employer can rehire you and put you on furlough instead. It is worthwhile reaching out to whoever made your redundant and enquiring whether this is something that is possible in your specific situation. The same goes for if you are potentially facing redundancy from a current employer, ask whether they’re able to take advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough you instead.
You should however also note that unfortunately if your employer’s situation changes, they can make you redundant even if you have been furloughed. But, again, your employment rights are still here to protect you, they aren’t affected by the furlough scheme.
Tailored advice in relation to redundancy
Here at Location Lawyer, we understand that it can be incredibly difficult to know exactly where you stand in relation to your individual redundancy and your employment rights, for this reason, we would recommend that it is beneficial to speak to an employment law specialist or an employment solicitor. Thankfully, employment solicitors in London, Cardiff, Manchester and across the UK, understand complex legislation, your legal rights and the current situation relating to COVID-19, so they will be able to assist you further.
If you’re looking for an employment solicitor local to you, our team here at Location Lawyer will happily assist you. We can provide you with a list of numerous highly recommended employment solicitors and employment lawyers who are all able to help you in relation to being made redundant during the current Coronavirus pandemic.