UK workers are worried about redundancy and pay cuts but most are unaware of their employment rights, putting them at risk of unfair treatment, according to new research from the experts at Which? Legal Service*.

In a survey of over 4,000 members of the British public, the consumer champion found that around a quarter (27%) of adults were worried about being made redundant, and a similar number (24%) were concerned that their employer might reduce or freeze their pay.

Six per cent of the British population were made redundant in the last two years, while 10 per cent suffered a pay freeze.  But when quizzed on their rights in these situations, 98 per cent were unable to answer key questions correctly**:

  • Half of Brits mistakenly believed that they would always have the right to a redundancy payment from their employer, when legally they would have to have worked for them continuously for at least two years


  • 70 per cent of the population were unaware that the amount of redundancy payment they are entitled to depends on their age ***


  • Almost half had no idea that employers can choose who to make redundant based on a ‘last in, first out’ basis


  • 58 per cent of people mistakenly believed that their boss could change their employment terms by giving them 30 days notice ****


Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says:

“Our research shows that most people would have absolutely no idea what their rights were if faced with redundancy or a pay cut. Ignorance is anything but bliss in these situations – it really does pay to know where you stand.”Which? Legal Service has the following top tips for people facing redundancy:

1. Check your contract – as well as your statutory entitlements to notice and a redundancy payment, you may have extra rights to both in your employment contract.

2. Make sure the redundancy is fair – an employer must be fair and objective when deciding who should be made redundant. If you feel you have been unfairly selected for redundancy then you can make a claim to an Employment Tribunal.

3. Find out if your employer is carrying out the redundancy procedure properly -  if not, it may amount to unfair dismissal.

4. Consider a suitable alternative – if your employer offers you an alternative position it should be “suitable” i.e. similar pay, status, hours, location etc. If you unreasonably turn such an offer down, you could lose your right to a redundancy payment.

5. Get help – if you are being denied your rights, talk to your employer first, or to your trade union official. If this doesn’t work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer’s internal grievance procedure. You can also seek independent advice from Acas, Citizens Advice or Which? Legal Service.

For more information on employment rights, head to