Being selected for redundancy

Your employer should use a fair and objective way of selecting you for redundancy.

Commonly used methods are:

  • last in, first out (employees with the shortest length of service are selected first)
  • asking for volunteers (self-selection)
  • disciplinary records
  • staff appraisal markings, skills, qualifications and experience

Your employer can make you redundant without having to follow a selection process if your job no longer exists, for example if:

  • your employer is closing down a whole operation in a company and making all the employees working in it redundant
  • you’re the only employee in your part of the organisation

Your employer may offer you a different role if one is available.

If your employer uses ‘last in, first out’, make sure it’s not discrimination, for example if it means only young people are made redundant.

Reapplying for your own job

You might be asked to reapply for your own job, which could help your employer decide who to select.

If you do not apply or you’re unsuccessful in your application, you’ll still have a job until your employer makes you redundant.

Unfair selection

You cannot be selected for the following reasons - your redundancy would be classed as an unfair dismissal:

  • sex
  • gender reassignment
  • marital status
  • sexual orientation
  • race
  • disability
  • religion or belief
  • age
  • your membership or non-membership of a trade union
  • health and safety activities
  • working pattern, for example part-time or fixed-term employees
  • maternity leave, birth or pregnancy
  • paternity leave, parental or dependants leave
  • you’re exercising your statutory rights
  • whistleblowing, for example making disclosures about your employer’s wrongdoing
  • taking part in lawful industrial action lasting 12 weeks or less
  • taking action on health and safety grounds
  • doing jury service
  • you’re the trustee of a company pension scheme

Appealing the decision

You can appeal if you feel that you’ve been unfairly selected. Write to your employer explaining the reasons.

You may be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

Voluntary redundancy

It’s up to your employer whether they actually select you if you volunteer for redundancy.

Your employer cannot just offer voluntary redundancy to age groups eligible for an early retirement package - this could be unlawful age discrimination.

However, an early retirement package (for certain age groups) could be one element of a voluntary redundancy offer open to all employees.


Talk to your manager and training provider if you’re an apprentice and you’re worried about being made redundant.

Your training provider or the Apprenticeship service might be able to help you find another employer to help you complete your apprenticeship.