10 top tips for employees during this pandemic
November 20th, 2020
At Vyman Solicitors we specialise in providing support and advice to employees at this difficult time. Here are our top 10 tips for employees which will help you to ensure that you have the best possible chance of negotiating any problems at work, or if you are facing the risk of redundancy.
1) Familiarise yourself with how your employer’s organisation works and your role within it. This is important as will allow you to have a better understanding of what is at stake for you in the event that your employer decides to restructure and make redundancies.
2) The Pandemic has brought about a lot of changes to our economy and to the employment market. While most employers do respect the rights of employees in the context of restructuring or making any redundancies, some do not always do this and it is therefore important to make sure that you pay attention to the detail of what’s happening around you. If your employer commences a redundancy consultation process be sure to ask questions so as to ensure that you fully understand what is involved in any proposed restructure.
3) Remember that it is generally easier for your employer to dismiss you if you have been working for less than 2 years. It is therefore important for you to manage your relationship with your employer so that you pass this milestone as quickly as possible while maintaining positive relationships with your managers and colleagues.
4) If your employer decides to make you redundant, they must give you notice of termination a bit like cancelling a gym membership. You will either have to work your notice or you may be offered a Payment in In lieu of Notice (“PILON”). If you are offered a PILON, you will not need to work your notice period. You will also be entitled to be paid for any holidays which have not taken but sometimes employers can ask you to take holidays during your notice period. If your employer does not pay you your notice monies, you will have a claim for Wrongful Dismissal.
5) If you have been employed for at least 2 years you will also be entitled to a Statutory Redundancy Payment. This is calculated by taking your weekly wage which is capped at £538. You then receive one week’s wages for every full year you have worked between the ages of 21 and 41. For years worked over the age of 41 you will receive 1.5 weeks. Only the last 20 years of your employment are considered and the maximum amount which you can receive is £16,140. Read more about this at:- https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights
6) If you have concerns about things which feel wrong at work discuss them with either a trade union representative, a work colleague whom you can trust, a family member or a friend to get perspective. It is important that you try to be objective about what is going on and see things from the perspective of your employer and any work colleagues who may be involved in any problem you are having.
7) Make sure that you have a copy of your contract of employment, the company handbook and any letters which may have varied the terms of your contract over the years. Check whether you have any Legal Expenses Insurance cover on your house contents policy as this could be useful in the event that you wish to challenge any decision your employer may make to terminate your employment – if you don’t have such insurance think about buying it. Keep notes of any meetings which take place at work where any issues might be raised around your performance or problems at work with other colleagues. It is easy to forget what was said and you might wish to move on and make things work, but you might miss out on something important which could help you to defend yourself at a later stage.
8) Remember that if you let a difficult situation at work go without having your say without raising a grievance, it could eventually become part of a bigger problem which can give rise to you being disciplined especially if the problem involves other colleagues who may see things differently. Think long and hard about letting any incident of bullying or harassment going unchallenged even if you feel that there are downsides for you. In many cases employees who do not raise matters in the initial stages find themselves being on the wrong end of a disciplinary scenario.
9) Do not send yourself emails from your work e-mail address – that is probably a breach of the IT and e-mail policy as the e-mails form part of your employer’s confidential information. However, don’t forget that e-mails can be deleted or get lost so it if there is something in an e-mail which is important make a mental note of the date and time it was sent to you on your work e-mail it or write it down on a piece of paper so that you can refer to it at a later stage. Alternatively consider printing the e-mail and keeping it on a folder in your desk at work for future reference.
10) If your employer tries to discuss a deal for you to leave by proposing a Settlement Agreement, make a note of any meeting at which this is first discussed and what is said to you about the process by the manager or any HR partner who attends such a meeting. An employer is allowed to have a “Protected Conversation” with you under Section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 so long as they explain the process to you and behave as required by the Act.
If you are unclear about your rights, consider taking legal advice or speaking to your trade union representative.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.