Where do I start when making redundancies?

Alan Hickey

November 17 2020

There’s no denying it as we close in on 2021: 2020 has been a difficult year.

For many businesses, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has led to drastic action. That includes considering, and making, redundancies.  

But where exactly should you start making redundancies and what employment law aspects should you be aware of?

Identifying the need for redundancies

Once you have reviewed your finances and identified a genuine need to reduce your headcount, you should seek advice on your obligations under the Redundancy Payments Acts. You should also confirm the cost savings you need to make to continue operating. Throughout this process, remember to communicate with your employees.

Assessing roles

You must then assess each role in the business. Outline all responsibilities and identify the contributions each role makes. This exercise will help ensure your selection process has been fair in deciding which employees to make redundant.

The risk of unfair dismissal

Redundancy is a fair reason to terminate employment under unfair dismissal legislation. You still need to follow fair procedures however before confirming redundancies to avoid unfair dismissal claims.

Redundancy selection criteria

If the Workplace Relations Commission is asked to review a redundancy, they will first examine the selection of the employee and how it was made.

It’s crucial that your selection criteria are objective and staff don’t allege that you used the redundancy process as an opportunity to let go of a difficult employee.

Redundancy selections must be impersonal, and the criteria examined should be relevant to the crucial needs of the business at that time.

Consulting employees and meetings

Throughout this process it’s important to consult with employees, which can be done through a series of meetings.

At the first meeting, explain the business issue and that pay reductions, reduced hours, or redundancies may be inevitable in order for the business to survive.

Following this meeting, each employee should receive a letter outlining what was discussed. This ensures all employees are fully aware of the situation.

Further meetings should be held throughout the process to get staff feedback and to update them on company decisions.

Policy and programme

It’s worthwhile to have a Redundancy Policy in place to outline:

  • The legislation.
  • The statutory consultation obligations.
  • The factors that the company will consider in selecting employees for redundancy.
  • The steps they will take in completing the redundancy programme.

Your redundancy programme can also factor in assistance for employees. This might include helping them to update their CV, refreshing their interview skills, and advice on job hunting.

This help can ease the tension in the workplace and provide staff facing redundancy with useful help in securing alternative employment.

Need our help?

If you’re a Peninsula client, you can call our 24/7 helpline for instant, unlimited advice on redundancy.

But if you’re not a client?

No problem. You can still claim a free advice call with one of our HR experts today.

To speak to an expert now and get the latest guidance on redundancy, call 1890 252 923.

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