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redarrow Return to the main Redundancy section
redarrow Redundancy – the law
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redarrow Redundancy – What am I entitled to?
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Redundancy – the law

Under the Employment Rights Act, Section 139 it says “For the purpose of this act, an employee who is dismissed shall be taken to be dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to:-

a) The fact that his employer has ceased or intends to cease:-
(i) to carry on the business for the purpose of which the employer was employed by him.
(ii) to carry on that business in the place where the employer was still employed.

b) The fact that the requirements of that business:-
(i) for the employers to carry out work of a particular kind.
(ii) for employers to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where the employee was employed by the employer have ceased or diminished or expected to cease or diminish.

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What does this mean?

For you to be redundant, your boss must have decided he no longer needs your job or that he will no longer need your job shortly or has decided that he is going to close the business entirely or he is going to close the business in the place where you are employed entirely or the work that you do has diminished or is expected to diminish shortly. I hope this is a little bit clearer?

A simple definition is to remember is the business closing? If the business is not closing, is the need for you to work doing the job you do ceasing or getting less?

In order for the dismissal on the grounds of redundancy to amount to a fair dismissal:

  • Firstly, the employer must show that it is a genuine redundancy situation.
  • Secondly, the employer must consult with you and discuss it with you in a meaningful way. Simply calling you into an office and telling you that you are redundant the day that you are actually dismissed is not meaningful consultation although it still may not amount to unfair dismissal if it can be shown that consultation would have made no difference.

It is certainly frowned upon by Employment Tribunals for there to be no genuine consultation.

The next question you should ask yourself - Does more than one person do your job?

If more than one person does your job, then there should be a pool of selection for the redundancy. That means that all of the people who are doing the same job at the same location are in a pool for potential redundancy, not just you as an individual if your job is not unique.

If your job is unique, then there is no need for a selection process because your job is ceasing or diminishing then the employer does not need to select anyone from a pool of people doing your job.


Fred’s Thimble Makers Limited employs fifteen people making metal thimbles. Your job is to fix the machines when they break as you are a Handyman. There are no other Handymen and your employer decides he is going to make do without a Handyman.He calls you into the office, discusses with you why he thinks he does not need a Handyman, asks for your view on this and any suggestions you may have and you go back to him and say there are no other vacancies and you can understand why they do not need a Handyman. He then gives you a few days to think about any objections you might have. You meet again and then he decides to dismiss you on the grounds of redundancy. In these circumstances, it is probable, not certain but probable, that the dismissal will be a fair dismissal on the grounds of redundancy.

Let’s go through the same scenario but this time there has been a downturn in orders.

There are four Lathe Operators and he only has sufficient work on the order books for two. In these circumstances, work has diminished and that creates a genuine potential redundancy situation. Provided he does not decide on a whim who is going to be selected for redundancy and uses a fair process for that selection and provided he consults with those affected before he makes the decision, then the decision is more than likely to be a fair reason for dismissal.

When selection is necessary

In my second example with the thimble making Company selection is necessary because only two Lathe Operators are needed whereas previously there was four Lathe Operators. The employer will then be required because it says so in his Contract of Employment with you as an employee to use redundancy selection process he has used previously. More common is for an employer to use “last in, first out”. It has been used as a reasonable mechanism for selection time and time again by the Employment Tribunals. However, the employer does not have to use that provided he has not agreed in the past to do so. He can use selection criteria based on point scoring against the criteria provided the criteria or the selection can be established through records or appraisals or by fair judgment to be accurate scoring, then the ones who score the least, could also be selected fairly for redundancy.

If you have been selected for redundancy, that does not end it. If the employer has alternative work available i.e. vacancies, he does not have to create vacancies but if there are then vacancies available, he should allow you to apply for them or if you suitable for that post, offer that post to you.

If you are facing redundancy visit our redundancy pages.
If you are being unfairly Dismissed, visit our Unfair Dismissal pages.
If you are being disrciminated against due to race, visit our Race Discrimination pages.
If you are considering going to an Employment Tribunal then see our Employment Tribunal pages.
If you are facing Constructive Dismissal, visit our Constructive Dismissal pages.
If you are losing your job due to Misconduct or Gross Misconduct, visit our Misconduct or Gross Misconduct pages.
If you are losing your job due to Capability then visit our Capability pages.
If you think you may be suffering from disability discrimination then visit our disability discrimination pages.
If you are being asked to sign a Compromise Agreement, then visit our Compromise Agreement pages.
If you are being put on Garden Leave then please see our Garden Leave pages



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