When the economy is in difficulties, redundancies are in the news every day. But even when times are better, redundancies still happen as firms reorganise or get taken over.

Being made redundant is not the same as getting the sack:

  • Dismissal is what happens when your employer decides to get rid of you.
  • Redundancy is when jobs disappear.

Dismissal can be fair (e.g. if you are caught stealing) or unfair (e.g. you are sacked for being pregnant). Employers must also follow fair procedures if they are dismissing someone. Find out more about dismissal.

Redundancy is different. Redundancy can be a fair reason for dismissal, but since the legal requirements are different to other forms of dismissal, it is helpful to distinguish between the two. Redundancy happens when an employer reduces their workforce.

A redundancy dismissal can be unfair, even though jobs have disappeared, if the employer has:

  • unfairly picked you out for redundancy;
  • failed to consult properly; or
  • failed to offer you suitable alternative employment.

Some reasons for selecting you for redundancy will be 'automatically unfair', for example, selecting you for redundancy because of your trade union membership or because you are pregnant.

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.

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