There are many reasons why employment may come to an end. It could be due to the conduct of the employee, the employee no longer being able to work there or redundancy. There are statutory guidelines that must be followed, and of course the employment contract, when employment is terminated.
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A contract of employment can be terminated at any time by either party, it could be a resignation or retirement.
Three claims may be available to an employee upon termination of his employment. Wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and redundancy. Unfair dismissal and redundancy are different as they are statutory rights given to an employee. Both of these claims have criteria that must be fulfilled.
Both the employee and employer are normally entitled to a minimum period of notice on termination of employment. Notice periods should be one of the key terms detailed in the contract of employment. Usually, employees must be paid their normal pay during the notice period.
To claim a redundancy payment or pursue an unfair dismissal claim, a person must be an employee, have been dismissed, continuously employed for a set period and not be within an excluded clause.
The person claiming must be an employee, ‘an individual who works under a contract of employment’. This is fairly straight forward.
To bring either of these claims, the employee must show that he was dismissed. It does not include employees who resign or leaves by mutual agreement.
Actual dismissal is when an employee is terminated by his employer with or without notice. The only exception to this is when an employee is forced to resign by his employer. This is known as constructive dismissal.
When calculating periods of continuous employment, a month means a calendar month and a year is 12 calendar months.
The usually means that the employee works for the same employer without a break.
To bring a redundancy claim, you must have been employed for a period of not less than two years, from the date employment commenced to the dismissal date.
For an unfair dismissal claim, the law has recently changed. For employees who worked at their employers prior to 1st April 2012, it is one years’ service. However, for employees who commenced work after the 1st April 2012, they must have completed at least two years’ service.
There are some employees who do not have the entitlement to the statutory claims. This includes members of armed forces or members of the police service.
Any provision present in an employment contract preventing the employee from exercising their statutory rights is absolutely void except in so far as it is permitted in the act.