Advice NI offer information on both reduced pay and redundancy, as well the following other issues:
- Vulnerable Workers
- Statutory Sick Pay whilst in isolation
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Lay-offs and short-time working
- Enforced and Extended Leave
- Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and Income Tax Changes
Most employers are contractually obliged to make payments to employees on terms that have been agreed as per the contract of employment however this is not always as straight forward as it first may seem.
Can my employer pay me less without consulting me?
An employer can reduce an employees pay but this can only be achieved either through an agreement with the employee or, dismissing the employee under their existing terms and conditions and offering to re-employ them on the same conditions, but with a reduced rate of pay.
What can I do if my employer has taken this step and has not consulted me?
If an employer unilaterally imposes a pay reduction (other than what is outlined in furloughed workers) you can resign and potentially claim constructive unfair dismissal and/or bring a claim for breach of contract and/or unlawful deductions from wages.
How can I supplement my Income?
If your wages decrease as a result of reduced pay you should contact an adviser for a benefit check, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to supplement your income or you may receive more support from Working Tax Credits.
If your employer is forced to make staff redundant they must ensure they select employees fairly. An employer may choose to offer voluntary redundancy packages to staff to at a higher rate than the redundancy pay they are due to reduce the number of staff they must select.
How are staff selected for redundancy?
If an employer must select staff they can look at a number of different areas, the old adage of ‘last in first out, does not always apply and if this method of selecting redundancy favours one group over another this can be seen as discriminatory. An employer can assess their staff based on skill, performance, disciplinary record and attendance when selecting for redundancy.
Will I receive notification of redundancy?
If your employer must make redundancies they should consult all employees, this is a legal requirement if there are more than 20 redundancies but is good practice if any are required.
Will I receive redundancy pay?
If you have 2 years’ service or more (tax years April-April) you may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. This is calculated based on age and years of service. There are strict rules around redundancy and you should seek further advice in relation to your eligibility. See https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/redundancy-pay for guidance on calculation.
Employers should not use this crisis to single anyone out unfairly, discrimination laws still apply. If you feel you have been singled out or treated unfairly because of your race/religion/sex/disability etc. you should raise a grievance with your employer in writing and seek advice on the next steps and your rights.
For further information from Advice NI on all the issues surrounding employment during the current climate, please visit https://www.adviceni.net/coronavirus/employment