Following the change of government lots of political posturing has occurred regarding cutting costs ie staff in government departments. The private sector is also going through lots of restructures. The impacts of these cost cuts on people and their families in the lead up to Christmas seem to get little thought.

If you are facing a restructure and potential redundancy it pays to know what your rights and options are. Has your employer followed a fair and reasonable process? Is the need for the restructure genuine?

We have put together a Guide To The Redundancy Process

Here are the steps that need to be followed if an employer is contemplating a redundancy situation. Please note that if the employment agreement outlines a process then that must be followed in addition to the points listed below. Remember that many an employer has failed to follow a proper process and while it was accepted by the court or tribunal that the redundancy was appropriate, substantial compensation has had to be paid to employees because the process itself was unfair.

  1. The employer should consider the position and make a tentative decision on what needs to be done and why.
  2. Any staff that may be affected need to be spoken to individually – unless too many.
  3. They should be told of the purpose of the meeting.
  4. At the meeting they should be told that because of financial or other reasons some changes are being looked at and that it is possible that their position may have to change.
  5. Staff must be given the details of what is proposed.
  6. Staff must be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to give their input into the process.
  7. Staff can make comments and ask questions at the meeting where they are told the process is underway, but also must be given an opportunity to get back by a set date (say a week away) with any comments and suggestions they have.
  8. Staff must be told that they may want to get a representative to give them advice.
  9. The employer must consider all the comments received throughout the process.
  10. The employer must make any further investigations necessary.
  11. The employer then makes the decisions on what is to happen.
  12. The employer should set up a further meeting for each individual and offer for them to bring a representative to the meeting if they wish to do so.
  13. The Employer must advise each staff member individually at the meeting what the decision is.
  14. If the position is to be totally redundant then staff must be give the notice as in their agreement. And advised whether or not there is any redundancy payment (subject to their employment agreement terms).
  15. If there are some positions available (e.g. 3 of the 5 current positions) then the Employer must let the staff know how many positions are available and invite them to apply for some of those positions.
  16. The Employer should set a time frame for the applications.
  17. The Employer should set times for the interviews.
  18. The Employer should carry out the interviews and make their choices.
  19. The Employer then offers the positions to the successful candidates (internal only as cannot bring in outside candidates).
  20. Once all positions are filled the Employer should advise the unsuccessful candidates and give them notice as in their agreement.
  21. If there are some hours available, the Employer should offer staff the hours or roles decided on, give them a chance to consider and get their reply to the Employer (this should be within a set a time frame again…eg a week later).
  22. If a staff member does not accept the hours or roles offered then the Employer should advise them that their position is redundant, and give them written notice of that and the notice period...and confirmation that there is no redundancy payment or whatever is in accordance with their employment agreement.
  23. Remember that an employer cannot disguise a performance or disciplinary issue as a redundancy. The reasons for the redundancy must be genuine.
  24. If a fair and reasonable process has not been followed or the reasons for the restructure or redundancy are not genuine an Employee can raise a personal grievance for unjustified disadvantage and/or unjustified dismissal. This must be done within 90 days of the event. Acting quickly is best, so do not delay if you need advice or assistance to find out where you stand and what your rights and options are.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.