1. If someone is made redundant, can they be replaced?

Employers should proceed with caution when considering replacing any staff who have been made redundant. After all, to make somebody redundant implies that their role was no longer required, and deciding to hire somebody else in this position provides clear evidence that this was not the case. As such, the redundant employee could make a claim to an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

2. How long after making someone redundant can you re employ?

There is no set amount of time an employer must wait before recruiting again after redundancy. However, it’s important to keep in mind the legal risks – namely claims for unfair dismissal – if you hire somebody to do a job that has not long been made redundant. If there has been an unexpected change in circumstances (i.e. you’ve secured a new contract), it may be acceptable to recruit again – but, to be safe, you should make sure that the job spec is sufficiently different from the role you just made redundant.

Of course, you could consider re-employing the individual(s) you have already made redundant and you would not necessarily have to wait any period of time before doing so. However, you should note that a period of a least a statutory week (i.e. a period from Saturday to Saturday) in between dismissal and re-employment is required in order to break continuity of employment.
In addition, if the re-employment comes as a result of an offer made prior to employment ending, then a period of four weeks is required to break continuity. Finally, receipt of a statutory redundancy payment will break continuity but only in relation to future claims for statutory redundancy pay.

Get employers redundancy advice from an employment law specialists.

3. Can employers claim back statutory redundancy pay?

Not usually. An employer could make an offer of re-employment conditional upon repayment of statutory redundancy pay but there would be little incentive for the former employee to accept that.

4. Can I make an apprentice redundant?

This depends. In England, if an apprentice is employed on an approved apprenticeship agreement or an apprenticeship agreement, then normal principles apply, and they can be made redundant like any other employee. This is the same for apprentices in Wales employed on apprenticeship agreements.

However, apprentices in Scotland and those elsewhere who are employed on old-style, common-law apprenticeship agreements have additional safeguards not available to the rest of the workforce. They cannot be dismissed by reason of redundancy in the usual way, unless there is a closure of the business or the employer’s business undergoes a fundamental change in its character.

5. Can redundancy be withdrawn?

Once an employer has issued an employee with a notice of redundancy, it is legally binding. As such, it cannot be unilaterally withdrawn by the employer without the employee’s consent. However, if circumstances change and the redundancy is no longer necessary, it is possible to withdraw the redundancy notice while the employee is working their notice period, so long as they explicitly agree to this.

6. Can a pregnant woman be made redundant?

‘Pregnancy and maternity’ is one of nine protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act 2010. Accordingly, employers must not subject employees to detrimental treatment as a result of them being pregnant, breastfeeding or haven recently given birth.

While pregnant employees can be made redundant, employers must ensure that the reason for selecting a pregnant employee for redundancy is in no way connected to them being pregnant or suffering a pregnancy-related illness. This means developing and applying fair, objective, non-discriminatory scoring criteria. You must also include pregnant employees in the consultation process and properly consider suitable alternative employment.

7. How does redundancy pay work?

Redundancy comes at a cost for employers. Once you have selected employees for redundancy, you will need to think about pay. Those who have worked for you for two years or more will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. The amount they receive will depend on their age, pay and length of service. Those under 22 years of age are entitled to half a week’s pay for each full year’s service; 22 to 41-year-olds are entitled to one week’s pay for each full year, and those aged 41 or older are entitled to one and a half week’s pay for each full year.

A week’s pay is capped at £525, with a maximum length of service of 20 years. Therefore, if an employee is made redundant after 6 April 2020, the maximum statutory redundancy pay they will receive is £15,750. An employee won’t be entitled to redundancy pay they unreasonably refuse an offer of suitable alternative employment.

8. When does the redundancy notice period start?

Employers must give employees a notice period before their employment ends. The notice period will start once the employee is served with a notice of redundancy and given a finishing date. Employees who have been employed for at least one month but less than two years are entitled to a minimum of one week’s notice. Those with between two and 12 years’ service are entitled to one week’s notice for each year they have been employed, although please note that some employees will have more generous notice requirements contained in their contract.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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