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being made redundant isn't 'basically the same as being fired'

(92 Posts)
TheSunnySide Mon 28-Nov-16 11:44:05

Two people have said this to me in the last week.

My post has been made redundant and I leave my job of almost 20 years early next year.
I was offered the chance to take Voluntary redundancy but was told there was no chance at all of my post being saved - I chose not to take it as voluntary, partly because I get more help with redeployment in the company and partly because I wanted it on the business records that I did not choose to go.

Now I am worrying - would it look better to say I voluntarily took the opportunity to leave for new things rather than I was pushed?

I'd like genuine views from people on what they think when they hear someone has been made redundant.

mouldycheesefan Mon 28-Nov-16 11:47:25

I work in HR. We do sometimes use redundancy to get rid of people who we would rather move on and we would always try to keep our top performers even in a redundancy situation. That said there are times when redundancy is unavoidable such as public sector cuts, office relocations etc.
It is not the same as being fired and what a rude thing to say.
Most forms you would just put redundancy, you don't need to specify whether you volunteered or whether they selected you to go.

TheSunnySide Mon 28-Nov-16 11:49:27

"We do sometimes use redundancy to get rid of people who we would rather move on"

WOW - isn't that completely illegal?

Palegreenstars Mon 28-Nov-16 11:51:26

Redundency is common place now. I wouldn't judge someone in an interview situation for being made redundant. You may not even be asked whether it was voluntary but certainly a plus if not.

Sorry about your job, good luck

mouldycheesefan Mon 28-Nov-16 11:52:53

Most companies do it. Restructures are excellent opportunities to get rid of people you don't want via redundancy.
I am in no way saying that has happened in your case, your friends are rude to say you were fired, you were not.

atticusclaw2 Mon 28-Nov-16 11:53:51

I'm an employment lawyer. Redundancy is not the same as being fired BUT if selection is involved then the worst performers/those with the worst attendance/ those with the worst disciplinary records will be selected. As such it is often a reflection of your value as an employee and may be perceived as such by new employers.

That being the case I would recommend VR if it's still an option.

Littledrummergirl Mon 28-Nov-16 11:54:03

Redundancy means that role is no longer available. Its never the person made redundant but the job so it says nothing about you as an employee.

Fired is when the person is dismissed. This can be for a number of reasons and can be challenged at tribunal if you meet the criteria.

mouldycheesefan Mon 28-Nov-16 11:56:22

Little drummer girl, not necessarily, if five people are doing the job and they only need three in future then the two selected to leave will be the lowest scoring employees . Generally the poorer employees exit via redundancy. No company will lose its star performer via redundancy.

MrsBobDylan Mon 28-Nov-16 11:57:52

The people who told you that redundancy is the same as getting fired are basically idiots and totally wrong.

It is your position which has been made redundant not you, and is not a reflection on your ability to do your job. It's just that the job doesn't exist anymore for reasons outside your control.

Sorry your are going through this, good luck with finding a new job. It's out there waiting for you!

JosephineMaynard Mon 28-Nov-16 12:00:15

It's not basically the same as being fired.

It's the business saying that they don't have a job for you anymore because the business isn't doing well enough to keep everyone on, or because business requirements have changed (relocation, restructuring meaning roles merged, etc). Basically, it means they don't have enough work to go round, so have to lose some staff in an effort to stop the entire business going under (or everyone's going because the business has completely failed). Bad luck for the redundant employees, but not usually something that's their fault.

Being fired is completely different - being fired is about you doing something wrong, whether it's being too incompetent to perform your role, or misconduct of some sort.

IMO it's idiotic to say that the two are equal.

lougle Mon 28-Nov-16 12:00:44

Were they offering better terms with voluntary redundancy? Would you be looking to claim Job Seekers Allowance?

atticusclaw2 Mon 28-Nov-16 12:01:02

I'm sorry but it's too simplistic to say its no reflection on the person/their ability to do their job.

In some situations, where the employee is the only person performing that role, then it might be no reflection whatsoever on them. In most situations it will be some reflection on them because there will have been a competitive selection process.

YelloDraw Mon 28-Nov-16 12:03:10

WOW - isn't that completely illegal?

No. You have 5 business administrators. You are reducing the number to 2. You make everyone reapply for their jobs and keep the best 2.

Or you offer vol redundancy, and accept the applications form the dead wood.

Colby43443 Mon 28-Nov-16 12:04:02

Redundancies are about roles not people. If selection is used all HR can do is rank people beside each other using arbitary measurements - for ex I've seen a top ranking ceo get made redundant because he had a poor rating 5 years ago in an unrelated role for the same company, while a mid-ranking ceo wasn't. Ceo is now a ceo for another company (got the new job within weeks) and the mid-ranking employee was dismissed six weeks after the redundancy was announced due to misconduct. No reflection on you as a person at all.

Hoppinggreen Mon 28-Nov-16 12:04:03

It's not always the case but I have worked in several companies who were making people redundant and it was pretty easy to predict who would be chosen.
However, it's not really the same as being sacked and whoever said so was just being nasty

Sonders Mon 28-Nov-16 12:05:16

I've been at risk of redundancy 4 times, lost my role twice.

One time was because the company didn't have enough work and the clients they did have just weren't buying the skills I was selling. The other was my first office job, and I was let go soon after a new director came in who coincidentally had also taken an instant dislike to me - so I think that one was strategic.

It's certainly not the same as being fired!

pestov Mon 28-Nov-16 12:05:26

What is the package for voluntary? Statutory is rubbish if you're in a well paid position as each week is capped. They are under no obligation to enhance if you wait till next year. Also, you can subtly mention on your CV that all holders of your role were made redundant if you're worried. DH being made (politically) redundant was the best thing that ever happened to us as he got a new job within a couple of weeks and we ended up with a nice lump sum

atticusclaw2 Mon 28-Nov-16 12:07:08


Redundancies are not "about roles not people". The initial redundancy scenario will have arisen because the business has a need for fewer people to perform the work. That's where the "roles not people" bit ends.

After that it is all about people/ability/potential.

It isn't the same as "being sacked" though. That phrase generally implies a disciplinary matter.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 28-Nov-16 12:07:50

Don't you get more money for voluntary?

That said, no it's not the same as being fired and I wouldn't ever think negatively of anyone for being made redundant - especially these days when whole departments go.

atticusclaw2 Mon 28-Nov-16 12:08:28

You don't always get more for voluntary. Sometimes you do but its not the law.

RockNRollNerd Mon 28-Nov-16 12:09:33

It's not the same thing at all.

Do you have access through your work to any kind of outplacement support as part of the redundancy - if you can negotiate this I would strongly recommend it.

Being made redundant is a horrible thing, especially after 20 years but try not to take comments like that to heart. One piece of advice I would say is to make sure you have a really good short reason you can give in interviews/to recruiters etc as to why you were made redundant - practice it and analyse it every which way to make sure it has the best possible spin. Eg if it was that they don't need the skills your role had any more make sure you can demonstrate that you have up to date skills for the roles you're applying for. If it's for office closure reasons make sure you're clear that you can still be flexible about work related travel (if applicable) etc.

FuzzyOwl Mon 28-Nov-16 12:12:00

No sensible company is going to make their best employees redundant whilst keeping the poor performers. There will often be a redeployment period and, even when the original role no longer exists or has been taken by someone better, a good performer will be given another position in the company.

I've never known it happen but can appreciate that there could be occasions where an employee who has worked for a company for a long time will be kept over a better employee who has worked a shorter amount of time because the first person would be given such a large redundancy payout that it isn't financially viable for the company - especially if the redundancies are because it is struggling to stay afloat.

SapphireStrange Mon 28-Nov-16 12:12:04

Restructures are excellent opportunities to get rid of people you don't want via redundancy.

This was just done to me, not that the company would admit that there was a redundancy situation – tried to make me take an unsuitable new role instead, after royally fucking me and my colleagues around for months. I let them know how I felt by hiring a lawyer and forcing them into a settlement agreement not supposed to talk about it yeah right

Anyway, no, it's not the same as being fired. I personally got a nice reference as part of my deal but I don't know if this is how it happens in 'normal' redundancy cases.

phoebemac Mon 28-Nov-16 12:12:25

It's not the same as being fired! But can you still take voluntary redundancy?

In my experience, it's often the more able people who take VR as they're more confident of finding another job, so I don't think it's any reflection on you.

Witchend Mon 28-Nov-16 12:12:28

Surely it depends on the situation to say it has no reflection on ability?

If you restructure then yes, one position may become unnecessary. But I'll bet you're going to make sure that it's the position of the person who has 3 weeks off sick in August and is constantly 10 minutes late, rather than the person who's worked there 30 years and never taken a sick day etc.

Equally well if you change a department from 5 down to 3 they're going to operate on a last in first out policy, or go for the least effective pair.

A friend's company has just gone through redundancies (10%, thanks Brexit). After the initial shock and panic, she named over half those needed as feeling they'd be before her. And in the event, all of those were given redundancies. They varied between the only just arrived, the work dried up in their area of expertise, the not-as-good-as-interview-implied.
Yes there were a couple of shocks in the remaining spaces, but when she thought about it she could see why. They also offered voluntary redundancies before deciding and refused a couple of people.

Yes, there will be times when a role just becomes obsolete, but I suspect the times when it is totally job related are rarer than management say. Although, of course, it doesn't mean you're bad at your job; just means that the others are better.

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