Redundancy: How to handle the consultation process

Amie Doran

July 08 2020

Redundancies are tough for both employers and employees. Still, they’ve become a reality for many businesses as we move out of lockdown.

If your business was one of those affected by lockdown, you may be looking at ways to reduce outgoings like your labour costs.  

To avoid making this difficult situation worse, it’s important that your termination procedures comply with redundancy and unfair dismissals legislation.

Compliance with legislation

When reviewing a redundancy-related claim, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) generally consider three key questions:

  • Was there a genuine reason for the redundancy?
  • Did the employer use a fair selection process?
  • Did the employer carry out a fair consultation process?

In today’s blog, we’re focusing on the last issue and the importance of carrying out effective and meaningful consultations with staff during a redundancy process.

Effective and meaningful consultation

The WRC has stated in previous decisions that the requirement to carry out a fair consultation process will only be satisfied where an employer has engaged in effective and meaningful consultation with the employee through a series of meetings.

The consultation process

The advice below is a suggested consultation process. It’s important to remember that every redundancy process should be tailored to the circumstances of each business. So, if you need to make redundancies, remember to consider what constitutes effective and meaningful consultation in the context of your business.

The first step is to hold an ‘at risk’ meeting with all affected employees. The purpose of the meeting is to advise employees that they’re ‘at risk’ of being made redundant. This meeting can be held with individual employees or a group of affected employees.

In the meeting, you must tell them:

  • Why the business has decided it’s necessary to make redundancies.
  • The procedure you’re going to follow.
  • The selection criteria you intend to use.
  • Alternatives you have looked at. Also, ask employees if they have any suggestions.
  • That they have an opportunity to apply for voluntary redundancy.

After this meeting, the employees should be issued with an ‘at risk letter’. Following on from the first meeting, you should hold a further two to three meetings with the employees individually to discuss any updates and suggestions they have.

Where no alternative to redundancy can be found, the final meeting should be held with employees to tell them whether or not they’re being made redundant and the amount of the redundancy payment they’re entitled to.

Once this process has concluded, you’re required to issue affected employees with their formal notice of redundancy.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on redundancy from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 1890 252 923 or request a callback here.

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