Debenhams: Another blow for shop workers…..

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Redundancy after shop closures – what are my employment rights?

With Debenhams announcing the closure of 22 of its stores today, one being in Scotland, and up to 1,200 jobs being at risk, many people are asking what are my employment rights?


What happens to my job now if the shop isn’t closing right away?

Nothing. Everything should remain the same up until they begin the redundancy process which you will be made aware of when it begins. This may or may not take place right away.


What is the redundancy process?

If the company is making 20 or more redundancies, then they have a legal obligation to consult with the staff before doing so. The period of consultation should last 30 days if it affects 20-99 employees or 45 days if it affects over 100 employees before any dismissals take place.


What payment will I receive when the shop closes?

This will depend on how long you have worked at the shop and whether they offer you another role or not. If you are offered a “suitable alternative role” and you turn it down, then you will not be entitled to a redundancy payment.


Is there a minimum time I have to have worked for the company to qualify for a redundancy payment?

You must have worked for the company for at least 2 years or more in order to be eligible for a statutory redundancy payment unless your contract of employment gives you more (this would be known as an “enhanced redundancy payment”). In addition, you will also be entitled to notice pay and holiday pay.


How much payment will I receive?

If you qualify for a redundancy payment. The basic minimum you will get under a statutory basis (i.e. the basic amount that the law sets out) is: –

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older

Is there a limit on this?

The length of service that an employee must have is capped at 20 years. You may be entitled to more if your contract offers an “enhanced” redundancy package. Check your contract of employment for more information. We would also be happy to review this for you.


Do they have to offer me another job?

There is a legal obligation on the company to consider whether there may be a “suitable alternative role” for you. This could be in another store, but the company does not have to offer you a role that is exactly the same as the role you are currently doing. If they do not offer you an alternative role, then they will have to pay you a redundancy payment (if you have worked for the company for 2 years or more).


Can I get paid time off to look for another job whilst the shop is still trading?

Yes. You are entitled to a reasonable amount of time during the redundancy process to attend job interviews to look for another job out-with the company.


If I resign before the shop closes will I still get a pay-off?

No.  You will not automatically be entitled to any redundancy pay if you voluntarily resign with no other agreement in place. You will also not receive any notice pay. Therefore, we would recommend that you take legal advice before taking serious steps such as this.


How can we help?

Here at McEwan Fraser we can offer you practical advice from our experienced Employment Law solicitor, Kelly McManus who will be able to advise you on the next steps you can take in order to maximise your position and make sure you are getting the best package possible from your employer in the event of a redundancy situation and to make sure they are complying with the correct procedures under the law.


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