Job Protected

I am looking for some thoughts and even definitive information about what is meant by a job being protected.  My wife is being made redundant and she is relatively accepting of the overall position and hopes to use the opportunity to find something that avoids a commute.
  1. She was working from home from lock-down announced by the PM.
  2. Furloughed from mid-April, with the company topping up the pay to 100%.
  3. Letter to all employees, 28th April, updating the position of the company but saying "We will be able to protect current jobs until the end of June 2020, but some redundancies will be necessary after June".
  4. Started a redundancy consultation, 11th May, and confirmed "job is protected on the furlough scheme until the end of June, but is not sure after that".
  5. Now (22nd May) advised that she will be redundant with notice starting 1st June.  My wife challenged them on this on Friday and said that as the jobs were protected until the end of June (so notice no earlier than 1st July), that should be honoured as it is unfair if the company does not stand by earlier commitments.  The company have reverted back today (27th May) to say they disagree and the notice period will start from 1st June.
Overall, the company were being fair, and with the understanding that notice would be from 1st July, even though the company were only offering statutory, with 10 years service and the extra month, my wife was happy enough overall.
She is now not happy because the company is not standing by the 'jobs protected until end of June' statement.

What we would like to know is does the statement that the company will be able to protect jobs until the end of June have any specific meaning that should be applied? 
Does it mean no notice before 1st July, or does it mean no end of notice before end of June?
Is this change sufficient to be unfair?
Is there anything realistic that my wife can do about it?  

Replies

  • edited 27 May 2020 at 5:18PM
    sharpe106sharpe106 Forumite
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    edited 27 May 2020 at 5:18PM
    Notice period is basically exactly what it says on the tin. Giving you notice that the job will end. So the job still exists until the last day of the notice period ends and after that the job no longer exists (if it still does then you have a claim for unfair dismissal). So to me they have stood by the commitment for jobs protected to the end of June.  It is the actually job that is ending the 1st July,. Just unfortunate that it is your partner currently doing it. 

    Another option that is probably better financially for her is to ask the company not to top her last week or two pay up to the 100%, keep it at 80%, then they can claim the furlough for the last month until the scheme ends and then use the 20% they have saved the last few week to pay the accrued holiday pay, so will not end up actually costing them any more. 
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    Thanks.
    As we understand it at the moment, the company will be statutory redundancy, notice pay (at 100%), accrued holiday pay and pay for past overtime as TOIL is no longer possible.  Obviously, the loss is the extra month from notice being from 1st June when it was previously understood would be from 1st July.
  • sharpe106sharpe106 Forumite
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    To me that makes sense, you could always try an employment specialist but I would have thought he amount you would get even if you won would be taken up by their fees. Your best option is probably try to get them to do my last part, as you would only lose about 25/30% of the pay for no real hassle. 
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    I am not sure that I understand the part about forfeiting the top-up for a couple of weeks to pay the accrued holiday pay.

    At present, we understand they will pay the accrued holiday pay at 100% on top of 100% pay during the notice period.  We are waiting for the financial statement to be sent through (expected Monday) and, presumably they will send a settlement agreement.  Though, given they are now suggesting they will only pay statutory, it is unclear why we would bother to sign a settlement agreement.
  • sharpe106sharpe106 Forumite
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    Basically they are paying to top the wage up to 100% now. If they end her at the end of June which is their plan that it is the money they have budgeted. So if they keep her on furlough to the end of July when the current scheme ends without any top up your partner will accrue 1.5 days annual leave about.  So will cost them about 30% of one day of her pay to keep her furlough for holiday pay. Which they may be unwilling to pay. But as they were planning on topping her up up to June they could use some of that money to cover the cost of the holiday for the last month. So in effect she gets 80% salary for the last month at of a cost to her of about a week of her not being topped up to 100%, so about a day salary. It does not cost them anymore, except a person with a calculator and your wife would get more money from the furloughed scheme. 
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    Thanks, that does make sense, and we already asked whether they can do the July extension at 80% before the redundancy and the request was declined.  We used the tactic that it would not cost the company any more.

    We since found that the furlough money can be used to cover notice period and my wife will get 10 week's notice because she has been there 10 years.  So, I think that is why the company were not agreeable, as they could not then use the July furlough pay to offset the notice pay.
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    My wife's consultation process all went through and she will get what she gets - it's not that bad really overall as it works out to about the equivalent of being paid up until Christmas.  She does feel as though she was 'swizzed' by one months' salary but is focused on moving on to the future and not fighting the past.

    My wife has registered for JSA, but they don't seem to be setting up the support with Work Coaches or anything like that.  On a previous occasion, when I was redundant before, the Work Coach was such a brilliant support, we wondered whether there should be something similar available now.  We accept it will be done differently with lockdown, but that Work Coach support is at least as valuable as the actual JSA payments.
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