The qualifying period for statutory redundancy pay should be cut in half so that millions more employees could benefit from it, unions have suggested.
Research by the TUC found slashing the period an employee becomes eligible to claim statutory redundancy pay from two years to 12 months would give extra redundancy entitlement to 20.5 million employees. More than one in three would be entitled to the pay for the first time in their working lives.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said these changes were essential ahead of growing unemployment figures, which are expected to hit 3.2 million within the next year.
He said: “Many employees will be facing redundancy and unemployment for the first time in their lives, and there can be no assumption that the people who are losing their jobs will find it easy to get new ones,” he said. “They will need all the help they can get with redundancy pay, retraining and personal advice.”
Barber also called on the government to increase the amount of an employee’s weekly earnings that counts towards statutory redundancy pay from £350 per week to £500. Currently, four in 10 (46.2%) of the UK workforce earns more than £350 per week – a limit imposed in 1965.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Budget – expected on 22 April – the TUC has called for a further £25bn to be pumped into the economy to create and safeguard at least one million jobs.
The body claims the boost would double the UK’s fiscal stimulus to 3.25% of GDP. It wants most of the money to be put into a public works programme for green industries, especially manufacturing, renewable energy, home insulation, housebuilding and the improvement of rail and communications infrastructure.