Call today for a free initial chat with an Employment Lawyer on (09) 214 5780.*
There is no statutory definition of redundancy. Redundancy usually involves a situation where the employee’s role is superfluous to the needs of the employer.
Examples of what IS likely to be a real redundancy situation include:
- The organisation wishes to close a particular branch or office
- The organisation stops producing a particular product, or providing a particular service
- The organisation’s business has reduced and the organisation wishes to reduce the workforce to reflect the reduction in work
- The organisation no longer requires employee’s to carry out a particular job or function
Examples of what IS NOT likely to be a real redundancy situation:
- The organisation wants to use redundancy as an excuse to remove an employee who is not performing adequately in the role or does not fit in for whatever reason
- The organisation wants to replace an employee with someone on a lower rate of pay
In order to terminate an employee’s employment for redundancy, the employer should have followed a fair process. At a minimum, the employer should have:
- Followed any process in the employment agreement or in other documents such as policies, employee handbooks etc
- Before making a decision, told the affected employees that there is a proposal and the reasons for the proposal
- Met with affected employees to discuss the proposal and how it might affect their employment. Employees should have been allowed to have a representative present at the meeting
- Allowed affected employees an opportunity to comment on the proposal and ask questions. Comments and questions should have been considered and responded to. Apart from a few exceptions, if employees requested relevant information, this should have been provided to them
- Explored alternatives to redundancy
- Offered affected employees any suitable alternative vacancies within the organisation
- If it was necessary to select employees for redundancy, the employer should have developed fair and objective selection criteria, consulted with the affected employees on the criteria and not reached a final decision on selection until everyone had had an opportunity to be consulted on their own individual score
- Given notice to employees who were made redundant and, if provided for in the employment agreement, paid redundancy compensation.
Special rules apply for vulnerable employees (in certain situations) and those employees who are on or who have recently returned from parental leave. Vulnerable employees are listed in Schedule 1A of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and include employees who work in cleaning services and food catering services in any workplace; laundry services for the education, health or age-related residential care sector; orderly services for the health or age-related residential care sector; and caretaking services for the education sector.
If you have been made redundant or are going through a redundancy process, contact us on (09) 214 5780.
* Provided we do have a conflict of interest and that there is no other reason why we could not act, we are happy to have initial 15 minute telephone consultation free of charge.