Restructuring and redundancy in Scotland

If your business ends a person’s employment because you no longer need anyone to do their job, it’s known as redundancy. Find out more and get help.


When a business restructures, it can mean changes for the roles of its employees. Generally, redundancy or ‘lay offs’ occur when an employer decides to reduce the number of employees doing a particular type of work. This can happen because your business is:

  • Changing what it does
  • Doing things in a different way
  • Changing location or closing down

As an employer in Scotland, you must demonstrate that a genuine redundancy situation exists for the redundancy to be valid.

Rights of your employees

If you make an employee redundant, they have numerous rights including:

  • Be offered suitable alternative employment
  • A trial period in an alternative role, without losing any right to redundancy pay
  • Reasonable time off to look for a new job or organise training
  • Not be unfairly selected for redundancy 

Your employee may also be entitled to redundancy pay calculated based on their age and years of service.

Avoiding redundancy

You should always take steps to avoid compulsory redundancy before dismissing staff, such as making savings elsewhere, considering voluntary redundancy or an early retirement, or restricting recruitment. If you have to make redundancies, Jobcentre Plus can give you and your employees help and advice.

Redundancy consultation and procedures

As an employer in Scotland, you are required to consult your employees affected by redundancy within a specific timescale. The way carry out the redundancy process will vary according to the number of employees affected. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) can provide advice and information about what you need to do.