The thought of unemployment usually sends a shiver down your spine. But there are some situations where redundancy or job loss is preferred because the workforce needs to be reduced. Can you ever make yourself redundant by choice? Why yes, you can. Whether it is from wanting to change careers or from wanting to leave a toxic workplace, here are some fast facts you need to know about voluntary redundancy.
Voluntary redundancy is still redundancy. You still get the same protections under the law.
People who are made redundant are eligible for certain benefits. These are designed to help cushion to blow of job loss. Whether it is voluntary or not, those who are made redundant are entitled to redundancy pay, a notice period, consultation with the employer, time off to look for a new job, and transfer to another employment place.
It is important to note that benefits do not just come from the employer. Some benefits come from the government, such as income support or a jobseeker’s allowance for those who meet the requirements.
However, the word “voluntary” is not absolute. The final decision of who gets redundancy and the benefits that go with it is up to the employer, even if an employee steps up to volunteer.
You need to take a look at a close look at the compensation package offered.
Although the law states that those made redundant receive compensation packages, it does not specify what they should contain. Hence, it is vital to take a look at what is being offered closely.
First, statutory redundancy pay only applies to those who have worked in the company for at least two years. The amount is calculated based on age, how much is earned weekly, and the number of years on the job. You can get:
- Half a week’s pay for each full year under the age of 22
- One week’s pay for each full year between the ages of 22 to 41
- One and a half week’s pay for each full year over the age of 41
You should note that these are the minimum standards required by law. Nothing is stopping the company from being more generous.
It is not unusual for employers to offer incentives so that their employees come forward to terminate their contracts. Common tactics include a more lucrative redundancy pay or being excused from work during the notice period.
You are not required to accept the terms of the compensation package in voluntary redundancy.
Although the employer has the final say on who gets offered voluntary redundancy, the employee is not under any obligation to accept it and the terms provided in the voluntary redundancy package. Since it is voluntary and not compulsory, the package and even the redundancy itself cannot be enforced without the employee’s consent.
Redundancy, whether it is voluntary or not, is serious business. Employees who face this situation should look at their financials to see how feasible it is to volunteer to step away from the job. If you have decided to take this route, approach management to state why you are choosing to make yourself redundant. A professional stance often results in a more favourable bargaining position and allows you to leave with your head held high.
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