Thank you. Your rights are rather limited I’m afraid. As you appear to be aware with less than 2 years’ service you are not protected against unfair dismissal so you cannot claim unfair dismissal and the employer is not required to show there was a fair reason for dismissal or to follow a fair procedure.
So to answer your questions:
1. It is a good offer in a sense that if you reject it and go to tribunal you are likely to get nothing and anything more than what you are due under contract will be considered a ‘good’ offer in these circumstances
2. Most likely yes, it will be a waste of time. First of all you have to see if the handbook was contractually binding – i.e. did the contract specifically state that it was part of it? If it did not then this procedure would not be contractually bonding and the employer would not be expected to follow it. Secondly, even if it was contractual in nature, you can only claim for the losses incurred from their failure to follow it – they could have still dismissed you but it may have taken that little bit longer to do it, so at best you can expect a little bit of salary to cover the period during which they would have followed it. You are already being offered salary on top of your contractual entitlement so that is likely to cover this anyway.
3. It does not matter if it is a redundancy or not – you only get a tax-free redundancy payment if you have 2 years service and these payments are not a redundancy payment so cannot be tax free.
4. No need to be honest – you will not get more by having one because you simply cannot ask for it so getting a solicitor will just mean you spend more money unnecessarily.
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