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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 64950
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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The company I currently work for have asked for volunteers

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The company I currently work for have asked for volunteers for voluntary severance, I have applied and expect to hear the outcome of my application today. Colleagues have received phone calls advising that they've been successful and they need to make a decision by close of business tomorrow. My question is this.. is there any negotiation to be had? I'm currently on long term sick, have been absent since Jan 31st 2020 and have worked for my employer for 4 years. They're currently offering two weeks pay for every year worked.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: No
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee - Unionised but they're not particularly helpful.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

What do you specifically want to know about this please?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you. Go ahead.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I want to know whether I'm in a position to negotiate my severance package due to my personal circumstances
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I'm currently entitled to 6 months basic salary. And have been absent since 31st Jan this year.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
The business are currently offering 2 weeks basic salary for every year worked. I understand that it may well be very difficult to find another job during the current market, but I'm not particularly happy at work and if the airline is dissolved I would rather come away with something rather then statutory redundancy.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I would just like to add that my absence is due to mental health problems. I’ve been off several times during the time I’ve been employed. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks, is the absence as a direct result of the employer's actions?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Not directly. But the job involves being away from home which makes dealing with my mental health issues difficult.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I know the company probably see me as not as productive due to the length of my absences.

Thank you. The starting point is that voluntary redundancy is just as the name suggests – voluntary, both for employee and employer alike. Therefore, whilst you can apply for it if it is open for applications, the employer has no obligation in law to offer it to you, or even consider you.

 

I suppose the best argument you may have with them is that it is an easy option for them to remove you from the business and avoid having to pay you any further such as sick pay or anything else.

 

However, in terms of forcing them to select you for redundancy or forcing them to increase their offer, it is unlikely to happen from a legal perspective, meaning that it is entirely up to them of that happens.

 

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for but it is the legal position and I hope that it at least clarifies where you stand?

 

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you for your response.
I understand that my employer are under no obligation to select me for voluntary redundancy. I suspect that they will however. I just want to know where I stand in terms of negotiating my severance package. How would I word my letter to HR notifying them that it would be easier to remove me from the payroll etc and start the negotiations?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I understand there is no legal obligation to increase their offer. But is there scope for them to do so? In your experience, given my high level of sickness?

Impossible to predict whether they would and in my honest opinion, they may not be willing to do so because everyone’s finances have been severely tightened all of a sudden. So they may be unwilling to offer anything extra unless absolutely necessary, or at all. To be honest the only way to find out is to try it – you have nothing to lose by doing so

 

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