Real Employment Law Advice

I have told my Employer that I will accept voluntary redundancy but have changed my mind, what can I do?

If you have agreed to accept voluntary redundancy and your employment has not yet been terminated you can ask your Employer to withdraw your application.

The Employer may refuse to accept your withdrawal and could proceed with your dismissal for redundancy.

 

What happens if my Employer refuses to accept my withdrawal?

You will be dismissed for redundancy and whether you have a claim for unfair dismissal will depend very much on how the Employer has behaved and notably whether they have acted reasonably.

If your Employer gave you information about your voluntary redundancy when you were offered the opportunity to apply then it is more likely that your dismissal would be fair. For example if the Employer gave you a date by which you could change your mind or informed you that once you had agreed there would be no opportunity to withdraw.

This is does not mean that definitively your Employer’s refusal would be reasonable, but it would be a good indication if they had given you a fair opportunity to withdraw previously.

Can I claim Unfair Dismissal?

As set out above you can claim unfair dismissal if your Employer continues to dismiss you and the Employment Tribunal will look at the fairness of your dismissal and apply the test of reasonableness.

The test of reasonableness is set out in law as:

1)      Whether in the circumstances (including the size and administrative resources of the Employer) the Employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating it as a sufficient reason for dismissal; and

2)      It shall be determined in accordance with equity and the substantial merits of the case.

 

In your case this means that the Employment Tribunal will assess the following factors:

1)      The clarity and transparency of the voluntary redundancy scheme;

2)      What the Employer told you about the voluntary redundancy scheme;

3)      The date and timing of your withdrawal of your voluntary redundancy;

4)      The effect your withdrawal would have on the whole redundancy process;

5)      Overall whether the Employer had acted fairly.

What should I do?

If you have changed your mind about voluntary redundancy you should speak to your Employer immediately and without delay. If your Employer refuses to agree, put your withdrawal in writing and stipulate the reasons why.

If the reason for your withdrawal is because you acted in haste, without thinking about it or because you felt under pressure, ensure that you state this in your letter.

If the letter makes no difference to the Employer’s response and you are dismissed you should appeal against your dismissal, again without delay and seek advice about a claim for unfair dismissal.

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23 Responses

    1. Thank you for your comment Tlhodi

      I would recommend that if you have changed your mind about voluntary redundancy that you inform your employer as soon as possible.

  1. Hello
    I have declined my offer of voluntary redundancy but have changed my mind.
    I was on holiday at the time and felt rushed to make a decision as it had to be decided on a certain date.
    What should I do next? I am back to work tomorrow should I send a written email now and also ring tomorrow or just ring them?
    Thanks

    1. Dear Mr Harper

      Thank you for your comment. I recommend that you contact your employer by telephone and email as soon as possible to see if they will allow you to accept voluntary redundancy after the deadline has passed.

      You should explain your reasons to them and hopefully it will be enough for your employer to agree.

      If you would like specific advice about your case or to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact me – alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

      Kind regards

      Alison

  2. I recieve a letter regarding redundancy and was given a few days to decide whether i wanted to take voluntary redundancy i was also offered another job in the company buts it 51 miles away..i dont drive so would have to travel on train to and from work daily..if i dont accept either will i still get redundancy pay

    1. Dear Jo

      Thank you for your comment.

      In terms of your entitlement to redundancy pay, if you have been employed for 2 years or more then you would legally be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment. You may also have the right to a enhanced contractual or company redundancy payment but this will depend on what it says in your contract or staff handbook.

      If your employer makes you an offer of suitable alternative employment and you unreasonably refuse to accept it your employer is not obliged to make the redundancy payment. The suitability of alternative employment depends on a number of factors and I would need more information about your role and what is on offer. However, generally it is possible that your refusal of the alternative position 51 miles away would be reasonable given the distance to the new location.

      If you would like specific advice about your case or to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact me – alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

      Kind regards

      Alison

  3. I have been offered voulntry redundancy which I accepted my employer then said that there would be no voulntry redundancy can they do this

    1. Dear Rosemary

      Thank you for your comment.

      Where an employee volunteers for redundancy following such an invitation, they are volunteering to be dismissed by the employer by reason of redundancy (not agreeing to resign).

      The employer’s obligation to follow through with the voluntary redundancy will depend on what stage you have reached in the process and what has been communicated and agreed between you. If you would like specific advice about your case or to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact me – alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

      Kind regards

      Alison

  4. My employer has offered V R, which I have accepted. However my date of termination is four months away, can my employer withdraw the offer having given me a leaving date and a figure on which I signed as being acceptable. I did express my desire to leave far earlier than the date offered, but I did not wish to lose the redundancy, hence my willingness to sign.

    1. Dear Shaun

      Thank you for your question. The answer depends on how your employer has concluded the offer, if it is by way of a Settlement Agreement then your employer would be bound by contract to pay you the amount offered at the end of your employment.

      If there is no settlement agreement then under general contract law if you have reached an agreement verbally or in writing, this may amount to a binding contract, which means the employer cannot unilaterally withdraw or vary the terms offered.

      If there is a binding agreement will depend on contractual principles of offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations.

      If you would like additional specific advice or to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me – alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

      Kind regards

      Alison

  5. My husband was told last year that the company he works for was offering vol redundancy. He has signed paperwork and been given in writing the amount he will get, has had 121 meetings then the date for finishing was moved to a later date. They now say that there will be staggered leaving and he said he would like to be one of the last to leave. The date has now changed from last December to this May and now he has been told it will be this december . He came home from work last night and said that now they may not be letting them go…are they legally able to do this considering he has signed to agree to a redundancy package etc. He said staff morale is awful as this process has been ongoing since February 2017. He is not in the union in work. Thank you

    1. Dear Scule

      Thank you for your comment.

      Your husband’s rights will depend on how his employer has concluded the offer, if it is by way of a Settlement Agreement then they would be bound by contract to pay the amount offered and terminate his employment in accordance with the terms agreed.

      If there is no settlement agreement then under general contract law if you have reached an agreement verbally or in writing, this may amount to a binding contract, which means the employer cannot unilaterally withdraw or vary the terms offered.

      Whether or not there is a binding agreement will depend on contractual principles of offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to create legal relations. If it is in writing this will help of course but it does depend on what it says.

      If you would like specific advice or to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me – alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk

      Kind regards

      Alison

  6. 18 months ago I was offered voulentry redundancy I accepted the offer and since then my personal life has changed with my wife being made redundant after her work closed down I have asked if i can withdraw my request for voluntary redundancy and been told that I can’t do this even though it maybe 6 months or more before they let me go is their a time limit between volunteering and the work letting me go

  7. I took voluntary redundancy whilst I was heavily pregnant and my hormones in full play. I felt the process was rushed and I was also told that If not enough people had voluteered then the employer would be selecting employees and would be handing out compulsory redunancy. I at the time had worked there for over 19years and was persuaded to take the voluntary route.now I wished I hadn’t. I know it’s been 2years but suffered bouts of post natal depression. Where do I stand in getting this decision overturned or do I have no chance.

  8. My employer accepted my voluntary redundancy in 2015 with an effective leaving date of 31 March 2016. They offered me a deal to delay the redundancy while I worked on a project under a fixed term contract. No Fixed Term contract was ever issued, the project was delayed and split into two separate projects which I have been working on. In 2018 my employer is saying that the agreement for voluntary redundancy is no longer valid as they have offered me alternative employment.

    Can my employer change the terms of the agreement we had for voluntary redundancy?

  9. Hi, I recently applied for VR and felt that I did this due to work related stress which I made management aware of but they failed to address therefore I felt that VR would be best for me at that time. I was told there was a cut off date to leave of 30/12/18 so would have to waive some of my notice period I agreed to this but was not made fully aware of the VR process and did not sign or finalise this at a meeting. Since applying I have suffered a series of mini strokes and I am awaiting results from extensive medical investigations. Therefore, given these unfortunate and uncertain circumstances I have asked if I could postpone or withdraw my application until I am well enough to deal with it and decide what would be best for me. Can I ask do this and what are my rights if they do not afford me an extended period to decide or they refuse to accept my withdrawal.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

  10. Hello,

    My workplace asked for people to volunteer for redundancy but said it would select people based on job roles, not salary. My department was told that we were excluded from being allowed to apply for VR. However one member of the team applied anyway and was accepted. The deadline for applying for VR has now passed but I feel that we have been lied to since someone in our team did get it. My boss has told me that I would be rejected if I applied but do I have any rights in this situation? I have a lot of years service so taking VR would work out ok for me financially.

    Thanks
    Carole

    1. Hi Carole

      Thank you for your comment.

      It is unlikely that your employer has any obligations in terms of who they offer VR to and include in the process. Anything binding them to particular rules or procedures would be contained in your internal procedures or contracts.

      If you feel aggrieved about the way you have been treated then you can of course raise a formal grievance in writing and your employer will be obliged to investigate the grievance and respond accordingly. This may not get you the outcome you desire but it may be enough to induce the employer to look at the fairness of their processes.

      If you would like more specific advice on your case my team and I would be happy to help you and in most cases can agree a fixed fee for the work (giving you certainty about your costs). If you would like any help please do get in touch alison@realemploymentlawadvice.co.uk.

      Best regards

      Alison

  11. Hi , after being off sick long term with cancer ,and returning to work I decided to take voluntary redundancy when another store was closing it was agreed I would apply for voluntary redundancy in place of the other stores manager ,Receive a letter back agreeing to it , saying in would shut at the end of the year and my redundancy package they also said it the store didn’t close the agreement would be terminated! With only 5 weeks to go I have heard that they are now going for a short term lease of six weeks when the current lease finishes at end of year , the problem now is that I have another job lined up to start just after the original closing day , and I don’t really want to mess this new employer away , but I also the redundancy package is a fairly large amount , can me employer keep moving the closing date and expect me to loose my the redundancy package if I did leave on the original closer date

    1. Hi

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately much of the advice I would give depends on the particular facts of your situation and what has been put in writing and agreed between you.

      Generally, if you agree to leave by reason of voluntary redundancy then your employment will terminate by reason of redundancy which means you are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.

      If you have been given notice of dismissal by reason of redundancy and want to leave before the notice expires you will need to give written notice to your employer within the “obligatory period of notice” terminating earlier than it is due to terminate under the employer’s notice. The obligatory period of notice is the minimum notice period that you are entitled to.

      In short this means that if you have been working your notice period with the employer which is due to expire on the original agreed date, you would be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you leave at the end of that notice – rather than working the extra 6 weeks.

      The issue you may face is if the employer has agreed an ‘enhanced’ redundancy payment which is conditional upon you working out the period they require, this is where the specifics of your case and the written agreement are important.

      If you would like to discuss we offer an initial free telephone call or more detailed advice and review of your paperwork for £198 per hour. We can normally agree a fixed fee with you once we have sight of the paperwork so that you have certainty of your costs. Please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01983 897003, 023 8098 2006, 01722 653001 or 020 3470 0007.

      Kind regards

      Alison

  12. Hi Alison
    Regarding withdrawal,I applied for VR was told 2 days later by manager company excepted my request was given letter of acceptance in same meeting and told I could leave there and then with pay,had 2 additional meetings at the end was given package offer. After i reviewed offer over weekend I discovered no incentives there for me so is it to late to withdraw my request? I’ve been away from work over a week and took my stuff home but I’m on garden leave.

    1. Hi Steve

      Thank you for your comment. Whether or not you can withdraw your request will depend on what was agreed with your employer.

      You can always ask your employer if they will agree but if they refuse they will proceed with the termination of your employment and you will likely be dismissed by reason of redundancy. You may then have a claim for unfair dismissal but it will of course depend on the offer you were made and how your employer has behaved.

      Perhaps start by asking if they will agree and then see what the response is.

      My colleagues will be happy to assist you further with specific advice. If you would like to discuss we offer an initial free telephone call or more detailed advice and review of your paperwork for £198 per hour. We can normally agree a fixed fee with you once we have sight of the paperwork so that you have certainty of your costs. Please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01983 897003, 023 8098 2006, 01722 653001 or 020 3470 0007.

      Kind regards

      Alison

  13. I agreed to voluntary redundancy a few months ago to leave at the end of the year (December) and this was agreed in writing. However since then a new package of voluntary redundancy has been offered across the company with a higher enhanced package than the one I was offered (I work for a bank). Given the current climate of Covid, it will now be difficult for me to find another job, therefore I would like the enhanced package, but the company has refused and said that this is only open to new people. Can I refuse to leave?

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The information contained in this blog post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time it is written. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.


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