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I am in the process of being made redundant by the company I work for (UK). There's a legal consultation period that the company has to go through, for both parties (the employer and employees) to agree on the severance package.

I have accepted a job offer from a new company, and told them I can start after the end of consultation period (about 5 weeks left). They're keen for me to start before the end of that, which is good as it shows they want me, but annoying as it means I wouldn't get the severance payment from my old company (as I'm leaving before the consultation period ends). My manager has told us that if we find a new job and they want us to start earlier, we can work that out but won't get the package.

Is there any precedence for saying to the new company something along the lines of:

I want to start earlier with you, but I also want the severance package from [company name]. If you pay me the amount I will get from the severance package as a signing-on bonus, I will happily start within a week or two with you (maybe even less).

I haven't been at my current company for long (less than 2 years) which means I get the base package. I'm only a year out of university, so my salary is still relatively low, therefore the severance package isn't particularly huge (although obviously quite a lot of money for me).

I think the answers will be "might as well ask the new company" but I just want to make sure this is something other people have done; I don't want to embarrass myself to the HR manager (they're a fairly small company).

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You acted a bit prematurely. At the end of the consultation period, company and employees agree about the date when notice will be given. This doesn't happen at the end of the consultation period. And then you may have to serve the notice. Or you may be on gardening leave (still a company employee), and only if you're lucky you will be getting payment in lieu of notice (unemployed, free to start employment any time).

Your new company can't reasonably expect you to throw away money. So you need to do two things: Check with the old company when you would be able to start a new job (with or without redundancy), and check with the new company how willing they are to either compensate you, or to let you start later.

I expect that you can give four weeks notice at any time, no need to wait for the consultation period to end if you want to leave early (if you signed a legally binding contract with the new company). Just because you are being laid off doesn't mean you can't leave yourself.

  • Thanks @gnasher729. HR have told us there's a notice period after the consultation period, but we're not required to work through that (although we still get paid for that time). There's an individual consultation period from the end of the group consultation period for 10 days, but if we're happy with the package, we can sign the contract on the first day of that and walk away. At least, that's what has been communicated to us from HR. – Tom Oakley May 8 '18 at 11:04
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The best way to handle this would be to say you have to work your notice period in any event and say that is after the consultation period closes.

The other option is to ask HR not your boss if there is a VR (voluntary redundancy) option you could take.

This is obviously a big company paying contractual redundancy as you don't qualify for statutory redundancy as you haven't worked there long enough so a VR option maybe more generous.

Also if you do get the new employer to pay you a bonus you have to ask for more to make up for the fact that redundancy payments are tax free (up to a point)

  • Thanks @Neuromancer. Yeah, they're paying statutory, which I don't qualify for, and a "discretionary" payment for everyone; if you've been with the company less than 2 years, they automatically give you a base package of 2 years of service. – Tom Oakley May 8 '18 at 11:06
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Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for a 'golden handshake' to make up for a missed severance payout due to an early start. The company may accept the offer, counter, or refuse.

Just make sure you have your ducks in a row: Know when the earliest you can leave is assuming you are expected to work your notice, unless you are planning on walking out without notice (which I wouldn't recommend).

Also be aware of anything that could affect the final amount (taxes etc) and consider if the golden handshake is tied to completing probation (worst case you don't want to end up with no job and no severance/bonus!)

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I would approach this a little different. I would not put out a number. Tell them "I am paid during the consultancy period and not actually working. If I start another job in that period lose severance pay." Let them offer to pay the severance. If you offer for them to pay the severance it could come off as you are holding them hostage.

  • You make a good point regarding the holding them hostage part. – Mister Positive May 11 '18 at 13:24

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