My employer has offered me a different job, as an alternative to redundancy. Where do I stand?

If your employer offers you an alternative job, you will need to think carefully.

If you turn down a suitable alternative post that is offered by your employer before you are made redundant, your employer may be able to refuse to pay you a redundancy payment.

Specifically, you would lose your redundancy rights if:

  • your employer (or an associated employer, or an employer taking over the business) offers you a new job before your current contract expires and it starts within four weeks;and
  • the job is suitable for you; and
  • you unreasonably reject it.

You have the right to trial the new job for a brief period (four weeks).

Although you can turn down a job that is clearly unsuitable, you probably won’t lose your right to redundancy pay if you just briefly try out an alternative role to see if it suits you.

Again there are rules about this:

  • You can agree to try the replacement job out for a four-week trial period. (This period can be extended if you are being retrained, but this must be done in writing.)
  • If at the end of the trial period you are still in the job, you will lose any rights to a redundancy payment. In law, you will have accepted the new job.
  • If you reject the new job before the end of the trial period because it turns out to be unsuitable, or for good personal reasons, your redundancy will be considered to have started on the day your old job ended.

However, if you say the new job is not suitable but your employer disagrees, your employer may refuse to pay your redundancy payment, leaving you to challenge this in an employment tribunal.

You should take advice before you reject an alternative job offer (unless it is obviously unsuitable for you). You may be in a stronger position if you at least try it out and give clear reasons for rejecting it if you find it unsuitable.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.