"Redundancy" is when your employer tells you they can no longer employ you and they are ending your employment agreement.
An employer can say that they are no longer able to employ people and they are going to make the redundant because of COVID-19, but there has to be a fair process for doing this.
- First they need to give a valid reason - not just "COVID-19". And is it just you or is it all staff? Why?
- Second you need to be given a reasonable chance to respond
- Thirdly have to show “good faith” in the process - that is be open and honest about what they are doing and listen to what you have to say.
- You are entitled to all money that is owed to - pay, annual leave, redundancy pay - if any is covered in your employment areement
- And they have to pay you for whatever notice period you have in you employment agreement (for example if they have to give two weeks notice, they have to pay you for two weeks from their final decision to make you redundant).
There are several requirements on employers and safeguards against wrongful redundancies. The decision to make an employee redundant must be one that a fair and reasonable employer could make in the circumstances. They must also follow a fair process in coming to the decision to make an employee redundant.
The Government’s wage subsidy scheme will be a significant factor in the justification of a redundancy as there is an expectation that employers should access the subsidy before making workers redundant. Employers must retain the employees named in their subsidy applications for the period they are receiving the subsidy.
Steps an Employer must take before making anyone redundant
The employer must:
- Provide you with all relevant information about the proposal to make you redundant
- Provide you the opportunity to properly consider this information
- Allow you to have input into the decision-making process by allowing you to make proposals. They must genuinely consider any proposal you put forward
- Consult with you before making the final decision. This means:
- Undertaking genuine consultation before the decision is made and not just approaching you after they make a decision.
- Complying with all obligations within contracts and enterprise agreements to consult about the redundancy
- Taking an open mind to your proposals, being responsive and communicating with you through the process
- Consider any reasonable opportunities for redeployment
- If there is a vacant position that you are able to work – your employer must redeploy you to this position
- The Employment Relations Authority may also look at other issues, such as whether the employer provided you with counselling, with career and financial advice, and with retraining.
If your employee does not meet these standards, you are able to raise a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. The Employment Relations Authority will ultimately decide whether the employer’s decision was one that a fair and reasonable employer could have made.
If you are entitled to any redundancy entitlements, these will be found in your collective or individual employment agreements, or any other agreement you’ve made with employer. Generally entitlements will include notice or pay in lieu of notice and possibly redundancy pay.