Voluntary Redundancy

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.

10 thoughts on “Voluntary Redundancy

  1. Shaun says:

    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.

    • alison says:

      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


  2. Rosemary says:

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

    • Alison says:

      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


  3. Jo says:

    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

    • Alison says:

      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


  4. S.H says:

    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?

    • Alison says:

      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 says:

      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.

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