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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My employer gave me notice of possible redundancy in January

Customer Question

My employer gave me notice of possible redundancy in January and following 30 days consultation gave me a letter confirming my job was redundant with last date of employment being 31st May 2014. The letter confirmed the terms of an enhanced redundancy payment.

Today I received a call from HR department saying some unexpected work had arisen and they need me to stay until 30th June and If I choose to leave on 31st May I will forfeit any redundancy payment.

I have found an alternative job which I am committed to starting on 10th june.

Can my employer change the terms at this late stage
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. have you told your employer you have found another job.

Customer:

Yes I have told them I have made alternate employment arrangements based on the original confirmation of redundancy letter with end date of 31/5

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.

Customer:

Thank you

Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. when a redundancy situation arises the employer has a duty to try and find you suitable alternative employment to keep you in a job and try to avoid having to make you redundant. This is an ongoing duty which lasts as long as long as you are employed by them. So technically they are able to come back to you until your last day of employment and offer you suitable alternative employment and if you unreasonably reject it then you could potentially forfeit your redundancy payment.


 


However, an employee who has been issued with formal notice of redundancy may want to leave before their notice period expires, for example, because they have found a new job. In this case, the employee can give a written 'counter-notice' to their employer to terminate their employment on an earlier date. This is a right given under section 136(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.



For the counter-notice to be legally valid it must be submitted within a specific time period:



  • If there is no contract of employment and, in turn, no contractual notice period, the request must be submitted within the employee's statutory notice period (1 week for every full year of service) - for example if an employee with 4 years' service is made redundant and the employer issues them with their 4 week notice period, the request must be made within these 4 weeks

  • If there is a contractual notice period which has been issued by the employer - within that notice period;


 


If the employee serves their counter-notice correctly and the employer either accepts it or does nothing, the employee's employment will terminate on the date specified in the counter-notice. In your case that could be the original termination date of 31 May. The employee's entitlement to their statutory redundancy payment will not be affected.

However, if the employer refuses the employee's counter-notice, the employee can apply to an employment tribunal for an "appropriate payment" (that being the whole of the redundancy payment the employee would have been entitled to, or part of it). In deciding whether to award such a payment, the tribunal will consider whether it was reasonable to do so in the circumstances, given both the reasons the employee had for wishing to leave early and the reasons the employer had for requiring them to remain in employment until the expiry of their notice period. For example, if the reason for the counter notice was to start a new job and mitigate the effects of redundancy and the current employer did not urgently require the employee to remain and work their notice period, it is a situation that will work in the employee's favour.


 


Hope this clarifies your position?

Customer:

Ben Thanks. I think you may have misunderstood slightly.

Customer:

The letter confirming my roles is redundant was issued in feb and states my last day of employment to be today 30th may. I am quite happy with this and was accepting of the situtation. No desire or intention to leave employment before today.

Customer:

However yesterday I got a call from HR saying they now required me to stay until the end of June and if I do not agree I will forfiet all of the redundancy package outline in the original letter.

Customer:

This is not a new role they are offering me simply a request to stay on for a further month. It feels like I have a gun to my head because if i dont agree I will lose the redudnacy that was confirmed in writing and until yesterday i was expecting to receive.

Customer:

It also means if i do accept the extra month extension I will lose the new job opportunity

Customer:

Thanks

Customer:

John

Ben Jones :

Hi John, I didn't misunderstand your question but I will try and explain better. Basically once your employer has given you notice of redundancy, your employment would end on the date the notice period expires. This is set. They can only extend that notice period and keep you in a job only with your consent, or by showing that they had given you an offer of suitable alternative employment. If you unreasonably refuse such an offer then you would be deemed to be resigning instead of being made redundant and would lose your entitlement to redundancy pay. However, if you reasonably refuse the offer or the offer is simply not suitable then you would still be able to leave as originally planned and also retain your entitlement to redundancy.

In this case you can certainly argue that the job they have offered you is not suitable as it is only for another month and also that your refusal is reasonable because you have already made plans based on the original and legally binding termination date and it would be reasonable to allow you to leave now and still be entitled to redundancy. Hope this clarifies?

Customer:

Ben Perfect many thanks

Customer:

John

Customer:

Ben - perfect many thanks

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46792
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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