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Offered voluntary redundancy whilst on furlough: advice needed!


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Hi guys,

 

I hope that you're all keeping well.

 

I've been furloughed since 22nd April and I received a phone call from the managing director today stating that, due to the situation with covid-19, the firm is having to cut down on costs and are looking at making people redundant. I was told that I would be offered voluntary redundancy and that I wasn't the only employee that was going to be offered this. I was advised that I'd be paid for the three month notice period, would be given £300 for legal advice relating to a settlement agreement and would receive a payment of £2,000 at the end of the notice period. I was also advised that if I didn't accept the offer and was made redundant, I would just receive payment for the notice period. I've been employed by my firm for 3 years and 8 months and under my contract this means that my notice period will be the 3 month period as was stated.

 

I've received an email this evening with a scanned letter that was attached from my employer and I've got a few questions relating to it. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

 

1. In setting out the terms for the proposal for voluntary redundancy, the letter says that whilst I will be paid at 100% for my outstanding holidays, I will only be paid at the 80% furlough figure for the 3 months of my notice period. Is this right? I was under the impression that, if I do accept redundancy, I should be receiving 100% of my pay as there was absolutely no mention of this being affected in the agreement to be furloughed (which was literally just a couple of lines long saying that I would be on furlough from 22nd April onwards, for at least 3 weeks and that I would not undertake work for my employer whilst on furlough).

 

2. The letter says that I am not allowed to discuss the contents of the letter with any other employee, aside from the managing director? Is this a normal inclusion? I would like to be able to discuss this with my head of department, who is my immediate manager, but the letter doesn't allow for this unfortunately!

 

3. The letter says that I need to let them know if I accept the proposed voluntary redundancy before 4:00 on Friday next week (the 26th). Given that I'd received the email at 6:00 today, that basically only gives me 4 working days to take advice on this and to consider my position. is there any form of minimum period that would be required as this seems like an awfully short period of time for consideration?

 

4. The letter doesn't mention at all what my position would be if I did not accept the offer and was eventually made redundant, shouldn't that be included?

 

For lack of a better phrase, I feel like I've been shafted a bit with this! I received an email from my employer after the first 3 weeks of being on furlough just to confirm that I wasn't due to go back to work yet and have heard absolutely nothing from them until the phone call this afternoon. No mention or talk of redundancies anywhere until today.  I don't know where I stand legally, but it just doesn't feel like this has been gone about the right way!

 

Am I allowed to ask for more information about the redundancy process such as how many people would be made redundant and what the selection criteria would be?

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this guys and thank you for any advice that you may have, it is greatly appreciated!

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Hi. I'm sorry to hear about your problems. I'm sure people will be along later to advise.

 

While you're waiting for the forum guys to be able to get here, have a look at the ACAS website for information on redundancy because I'm not sure it works the way that your letter says.

 

I don't suggest ringing ACAS because their call centre isn't as good as it was and also it's possible it could put you at the start of a process against your employer, I can't quite remember,

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi HB,

 

Thank you very much for your reply!

 

I'll definitely check out the ACAS website now - I've used their helpline previously and it was a great help but I can imagine that the call centre is facing its fair share of problems at the moment!

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12 minutes ago, Tactful said:

 

 

1. In setting out the terms for the proposal for voluntary redundancy, the letter says that whilst I will be paid at 100% for my outstanding holidays, I will only be paid at the 80% furlough figure for the 3 months of my notice period. Is this right? 

 

2. The letter says that I am not allowed to discuss the contents of the letter with any other employee, aside from the managing director? Is this a normal inclusion? I would like to be able to discuss this with my head of department, who is my immediate manager, but the letter doesn't allow for this unfortunately!

 

3. The letter says that I need to let them know if I accept the proposed voluntary redundancy before 4:00 on Friday next week (the 26th). Given that I'd received the email at 6:00 today, that basically only gives me 4 working days to take advice on this and to consider my position. is there any form of minimum period that would be required as this seems like an awfully short period of time for consideration?

 

4. The letter doesn't mention at all what my position would be if I did not accept the offer and was eventually made redundant, shouldn't that be included?

 

 

1. Bit iffy, but there is zero case law here to rely on. It's poor spirited but probably not illegal. My in house lawyers can't be sure either way.

2. How many employees are being laid off? If over 20, collective consultation should be going on. 

3. Sounds like the £300 is to explain a settlement agreement. So the deadline of next week will just be to get that issued I think, then a further period where you have a solicitor explain it. For £300 they won't negotiate for you, So if you'd take it if it was say 100% pay during notice, now is the time to say that. Of real value is getting an agreed reference. Minimum periods depend on how many people are involved but this is VR, nor compulsory. So both parties can agree a deadline between them.

4. I would assume stat. redundancy; holiday pay (which they'll make you take during furlough..) notice period and with your length of service a max of about £538, plus no agreed reference.

 

Good questions to ask

- how many people are impacted, how many jobs to be lost from how many people?

- what alternatives to redundancy have been considered?

- what's the selection criteria - right now it may be "who has put their hand up"?

- if over 20 people, who are the employee reps?

 

Em

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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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5 minutes ago, Emmzzi said:

1. Bit iffy, but there is zero case law here to rely on. It's poor spirited but probably not illegal. My in house lawyers can't be sure either way.

2. How many employees are being laid off? If over 20, collective consultation should be going on. 

3. Sounds like the £300 is to explain a settlement agreement. So the deadline of next week will just be to get that issued I think, then a further period where you have a solicitor explain it. For £300 they won't negotiate for you, So if you'd take it if it was say 100% pay during notice, now is the time to say that. Of real value is getting an agreed reference. Minimum periods depend on how many people are involved but this is VR, nor compulsory. So both parties can agree a deadline between them.

4. I would assume stat. redundancy; holiday pay (which they'll make you take during furlough..) notice period and with your length of service a max of about £538, plus no agreed reference.

 

Good questions to ask

- how many people are impacted, how many jobs to be lost from how many people?

- what alternatives to redundancy have been considered?

- what's the selection criteria - right now it may be "who has put their hand up"?

- if over 20 people, who are the employee reps?

 

Em

 

Hi Em,

 

That's brilliant, thank you very much for all of your help with my questions and for the questions that I should be raising with my employer as well!

 

At the moment I am leaning towards taking it even if it is the 80% figure for the 3 months rather than 100%, but yes it definitely did feel poor spirited reading that! I had been expecting to receive some new like this at some point because the work for my department has just completely gone at our firm now, but I felt a bit hurt by the furlough figure!

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Ask. Shy bairns get nowt! They will probably agree; a few hundred more to not have go go down the mandatory route makes their life a little easier.  If not, well, you tried and don't need to wonder what if.

 

They also want you to agree while the government is paying most of your notice pay. Stalling into another month hurts their wallet.

Edited by Emmzzi
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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Thanks Em!

 

I am definitely overly shy with most things, but I'll ask about receiving 100% for the 3 months and see how it goes! It won't hurt to try at least :D 

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  • 1 month later...

It definitely has to be 100% or they have pulled a fast one on you - even before the govt clarified on this I found advise to this end that it has to be pre-furlough pay.

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