Close menu
bottom curve image

If you have been made redundant without proper consultation, you may be eligible for a Protective Award.

Understanding the rules around Protective Awards can be complex, and it's not always clear what your rights are as an employee, which is why we've put together this resource, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Protective Awards.


1. What is a Protective Award claim?

A Protective Award is an award an Employment Tribunal may order an employer to pay to its employees under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”) where the employer has failed to properly inform and consult with employees when proposing to make 20 or more redundancies.

In order to claim a Protective Award you must succeed in an Employment Tribunal claim.  You are not automatically entitled to a Protective Award in the same way you are entitled to claim redundancy pay. 

Protective Award claims are usually brought as group action, where all the staff who are dismissed get together and bring a single claim.  They usually arise when an employer has become insolvent and the staff are dismissed instantly and without consultation. 


2. What can I claim?

 A Tribunal can order that the Employer should pay up to 90 days’ pay. 


3. What if the employer can’t pay?

Often the reason that Claimants are dismissed suddenly is because the employer is in financial difficulty.  If this means the Employer doesn’t have the resources to pay and the claim is successful, the Claimants can forward a copy of the judgment to the redundancy payments office or “RPO”, who will pay up to 8 weeks’ pay in respect of this award.  Weekly pay is currently capped at £571. 


4. What is the process?

  • After registering with ACAS, we will issue your claim and send it to the Tribunal.
  • Your former employer will then have an opportunity to defend the claim, although often they do not bother because they know they do not have the means to pay.
  • Before the final hearing, there is likely to be a Preliminary Hearing with the judge to make a plan for case management.
  • You will also be expected to disclose all relevant documents in the case and may need to provide a witness statement.
  • You will have to provide a schedule of loss which contains details of your salary. This will have to be shared with all the other Claimants. 
  • We will then attend the Tribunal on your behalf and hopefully obtain a judgment in your favour.
  • A small number of Claimants will be required to give evidence in the hearing.
  • If we secure a judgment in your favour, we will then seek to recover it for you from the RPO.
  • We will ask that you nominate a couple of lead Claimants for us liaise with a take instructions from.


5. Can the company defend the claim?

Protective Award claims can be defended if the Employer argues there were "special circumstances which render it not reasonably practicable" for them to comply with the legal obligation to collectively consult. The burden of proof is on the Employer to show (a) the existence of special circumstances and (b) it was not reasonably practicable for the employer to comply with its obligations.  This is a difficult defence for the Employer to prove.  


6. How long will the process take?

A Tribunal claim usually takes 6 to 12 months, although timescales can vary.  Once judgment is received from the Tribunal, it takes around a further 6 weeks for the RPO to process payments.   There is nothing that we can do to speed up the process.


7. Will it cost me anything?

We can deal with Protective Award claim under a Damages Based Agreement (“DBA”) which is a No Win No Fee Agreement.  This means we will recover a percentage of the amount we recover from you.  There are some circumstances when fees can be payable and these are clearly explained in the DBA, which you must read carefully before signing.  We will be entirely transparent about these circumstances with you. 


8. Will it affect my right to claim notice pay, holiday pay, redundancy pay and unpaid wages from the government?

No. You can complete an RP1 Form which will allow you to make a claim to the Redundancy Payments Office (“RPO”) for notice pay, holiday pay, unpaid wages and statutory redundancy. It is your responsibility to make these claims and we will not do this for you.

We recommend that you make your claims for notice pay, holiday pay, unpaid wages and statutory redundancy as soon as possible as failing to do so can result in delays when protective award payments are released by the RPO.


Get in touch with our solicitors

If 20 or more staff have been dismissed from your place of work and you believe you are eligible for a Protected Award claim, or you still have questions about a potential claim, get in touch by completing the form below and a member of our employment law team will be in contact you. If you are worried about cost, we can operate on a no win, no fee basis, only taking a percentage of your award if the case succeeds.