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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39017
Experience:  Expert in UK Employment Law
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I am a teacher about to take volunteer redundancy, I have opted

Resolved Question:

I am a teacher about to take volunteer redundancy, I have opted to go at the end of April rather than stay until the end of June. I have been given a figure from the school which is a special package offered to teachers at the moment, the figure on the Department of Ed. documents is a lot less. I have asked about this but have been told by the bursar that figures have not been altered because it is a one off package. Am I being taken advantage of?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello and thank you for your question, which I will be happy to assist you with. Please clarify your situation because it is not entirely clear what you have been offered and what you believe you should have been offered?

Customer:

Hi Ben,

Customer:

The offer for teachers at the moment is 3 times their ordinary redundancy rate due to cut in education and funding.

Customer:

the school have written to me detailing that I will be getting 3 times the ordinary figure but the Dept. of Ed produce a sheet detailing with they would pay as the ordinary figure

Ben Jones :

So you are not getting 3 times the redundancy?

Customer:

I am not sure, according to the school and their letter I am, but according to the print out i was given from the Dept of Ed no I am not. the school say the discrepancy is due to the fact that this is a 'special offer'.

Customer:

I was given two letters one from school one from the dept of ed, the figures on them differ.

Customer:

Are you still there?

Ben Jones :

yes, why has the Dept of Ed written to you?

Customer:

They did not write to me, they have provided a calculation of statutory redundancy payment and the school give me a copy although they said that they did not mean to let me have it.

Ben Jones :

you say these rates are given to teachers at the moment - how is that enforced, is it a contractual clause?

Customer:

I am not sure it is an agreement. It should be enforced by the redundancy process and the involvement of the union. I have spoken to the union and on three different occasions they have given me different advice. they do not want me to leave before the end of june.

Ben Jones :

would the offer be different if you were to leave in JUNE

Customer:

It would mean that I would receive pay for the holiday months of july and august

Customer:

otherwise i dont think so

Ben Jones :

how long has the 3x policy been in force for?

Customer:

It came in in February

Ben Jones :

ok let me draft my advice please

Customer:

I have just found a document that seems to have all the information shall I attach it?

Ben Jones :

if you could please, thanks

Customer:

I hope that saved properly. it is a large file.

Ben Jones :

ok I will need to go through it now

Ben Jones :

This just appears to be a general advice booklet which has no specifics about enhanced redundancy payments and only contains information on the statutory minimum you are entitled to.


 


The key therefore is to try and establish whether the enhanced payments have a contractually binding effect. The first and most obvious way for that to happen is if this was a clause expressly contained in the contract. This does not appear to be the case here.


 


Therefore, you have to try and establish if this can be treated as an implied contractual term. There is a principle in employment law where certain terms may be implied into an employment contract by ‘custom and practice’. This makes them contractually binding even if they are not written down anywhere. This area of law is rather complicated and there is always a degree of uncertainty as to whether a term has become implied in this way. As such, it is usually only down to the tribunals and courts to establish with certainty if that is the case. Nevertheless, it does not prevent employees from raising this argument with their employers.


 


In general, a practice would need to have been clearly communicated and consistently applied for a number of years before it is considered an implied contractual term. Therefore, something, the application of which carries over time or that has just been around for months is unlikely to qualify.


 


As an example, a discretionary benefit will not become an implied term merely because it has been paid for a number of years. In Quinn & ors v Calder Industrial Materials Ltd [1996] IRLR 126 the employers had paid enhanced redundancy payments for a number of years. However, as its practice had never been incorporated into any agreement or otherwise communicated to the employees, it remained discretionary.


 


Also, you do not know yet what exactly you are getting by the looks of it. There is some confusion between the figures provided so in the first instance you should seek formal clarification as to what exactly you are going to receive.


 

Customer:

Thanks for that, I was going again to seek clarification as to what I am going to receive. I do have another document on this phase of redundancy but could not paste or upload it.

Customer:

Is there anything else?

Ben Jones :

for the time being this is all I can advise because there is no formal confirmation yet plus I have not seen evidence that there is a strong probability that this is a contractually enforceable term

Customer:

when you say 'strong contractually enforceable term' what do you mean?

Ben Jones :

as per my main advice above - certain things will make such entitlements contractually binding

Customer:

Thank you

Ben Jones :

My pleasure. Unless you need further help, I would be grateful if you could please press Accept before exiting. Many thanks and all the best.

Customer:

Thanks

Ben Jones, Solicitor
Satisfied Customers: 39017
Experience: Expert in UK Employment Law
Ben Jones and 2 other UK Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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Ben Jones
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Expert in UK Employment Law