Without a doubt redundancies can be required to keep a business viable. Employers need to ensure that they make their decisions based on what is best for the business -
not because they want to get rid of Danny the storeman who they feel hasn’t done a tap for years.
Before making people redundant, Employers must look at the overall business and see what areas are suffering a downturn, what areas are picking up, and how best they can react to changed circumstances.
A Selection Matrix will help to clarify the Employee strength and weaknesses and take the personalities out of the decision – and also ensure that no-one can accuse the Employer of
using redundancy simply to remove people the Employer doesn’t like from the Company.
As a business owner or manager, the Employer is entitled to make decisions that make business sense. So establishing the logic of any decision before making it is important.
There is a strict redundancy selection process that has to be followed when making job roles redundant. Remember that it is the role that is made redundant rather than the Employee – One cannot make an Employee redundant and then hire a replacement in their role the next day.
Proving that a redundancy was necessary is essential and if the correct process is not followed then this could be very costly for the Company and Labour Court action could follow.
When making an Employee redundant, you should:
*Invite the Employee in question to a meeting, making them aware of what it is about e.g. the closure of the business/need to downsize etc.
*This meeting should be to inform the Employee that they have been selected for redundancy, or, in other words, it is giving them their notice of redundancy. The Employer should make the Employee aware of the reason(s) for this selection etc. at this stage.
*At the meeting, the Employer should ask the Employee to think about alternatives to this redundancy and these options can be discussed at the second meeting to explore whether any of these alternatives are viable options to save this Employee’s job. The Employee may request a pay cut, to be laid off for a period of time, reduced working hours etc., (all of the options
mentioned should have already been ruled out by the Company in coming to the decision of making a position redundant). If there is a potential transfer situation, this may arise as an alternative to the redundancy.
*The Employer should end the meeting by telling the Employee that he/she will be meeting with them again. The next meeting should be scheduled more than 3 days from the first meeting as the Employer should have ample time to consider all suggestions or alternatives to redundancy that the Employee presents.
*The period between the first and second meeting is known as the ‘period of consultation’. It
will be at this second meeting that the Employer will discuss any alternatives to redundancy that the Employee suggests. If none of the suggestions are feasible for the Company the Employer will explain the reasons why they are not feasible. At that point, the Employer will go through the terms of the redundancy i.e. what payment the Employee will receive. In advance of this meeting the Employee should be made aware of their entitlement to bring a representative with them – for instance, the employee could bring a colleague or some other person who has an in-depth knowledge of the Company.
*The Employer should tell the Employee that, prior to the meeting, he or she should inform the Company if they intend to bring a representative and, if so, who this will be. This is in case the Employee decides to bring:
a) A Solicitor:
The Employee is entitled to bring a solicitor if they wish (if they do, the Employer too will need to bring a solicitor). The solicitor will not be able to speak on behalf of the Employee, but will be entitled to ask questions on behalf of the Employee.
b) A Trade Union Representative: If the Company does not engage with/negotiate with Trade Unions, the Employer will have to make the Employee aware that they will only recognise this person in a personal capacity, that they do not have a collective agreement with any Trade Union and that they have not, nor will not ever recognise a Trade Union. The Employer should ensure that this is clear to the Employee.
*The use of the RP50 hardcopy form is not in place any longer and as there is no longer any Employer rebate, there is no requirement to lodge the RP50 with the Department of Social Protection. However, in line with best practice, it is recommended that the RP50 form is completed online through the following link: https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/secure/RedundancyForm.aspx and printed so that the Employee is signing something to confirm they are receiving their payment from the Company.
*If the Company is not in a position to cover the cost of these redundancies, the Employee can claim their redundancy entitlements through the Social Insurance Fund, however, the Company does need to prove its inability to pay the redundancy amounts to the Department of Social Protection. In this case, the Employee will need the RP50 to claim his/her own redundancy payments.