May 11, 2020

A Protective Award is a form of compensation. It is awarded to employees where an employer has made more than 20 redundancies without collectively informing or consulting the employees about the redundancy.

With the current global outbreak of Coronavirus, and lockdown measures extended for another three weeks, many employers are looking at ways to save money. Unfortunately, this could mean redundancies in their organisation. 

There is a legal obligation for an employer to consult with employee representatives before redundancies are made. If there is a failure to do this, a claim may be brought in the Employment Tribunal. This is a Protective Award claim.

Employers who wish to implement pay cuts or a reduction in hours may also be obliged to consult with employee representatives about this, if it is likely that 20 or more employees may disagree with the proposals. Failure to consult will entitle employees to bring claims for protective awards.

If such representatives were not consulted on your behalf prior to your redundancy, you must make a claim within three months.

How much is the Protective Award?

If the Employment tribunal rules in favour on the employees, a protective award is payable to every staff member effected and can be up to a maximum of 90 days’ gross pay in a redundancy situation. This is in addition to your current redundancy package.  

The amount awarded may vary depending on how much your employer engaged/consulted with you.

Am I eligible for a Protective Award?

You could be eligible if you and 19 or more of your colleagues have also been dismissed and your employer has failed to adequately inform and consult with elected representatives on your behalf. In many workplaces where there is no trade union, an employer would be obliged to arrange an election to appoint appropriate representatives to consult with. Many employers routinely fail to comply with this obligation.

A Protective Award claim must be made within three months of the date of the last dismissal. If there is a trade union or an appropriate set of existing elected representatives, they must pursue a claim on your behalf. 

If there is no trade union or appropriate set of representatives, you must make a claim yourself, with the support of a solicitor. Before a claim can be submitted to an Employment Tribunal, claimants must first obtain an Early Conciliation Certificate which confirms that they engaged in the Early Conciliation process through ACAS. It is therefore important to take steps as soon as you feel you have been unfairly treated.  

What happens if my employer is insolvent and an award is made?

If the employer is insolvent, the employee can apply for payment out of the National Insurance Fund. The National Insurance Fund can pay up to a maximum of 8 weeks’ pay, capped at £538 per week (this figure is correct at May 2020).

What can Terry Jones do to help?

Terry Jones offers a free initial telephone assessment of your situation and can advise if you have a claim. If you believe you may be entitled to a Protective Award, do not delay and contact us today on 01743 218 450 or email enquiries@terry-jones.co.uk and one of our Employment Law experts will be happy to help.

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