Where you lose your job due to circumstances such as the closure of the business or a reduction in the number of staff this is known as redundancy. Generally a redundancy situation arises if your job ceases to exist and you are not replaced. The reasoning for the redundancy situation could be the financial position of the firm, lack of work, reorganisation within the firm or it may be closing down completely.
Payments Acts 1967–2012 provide a minimum entitlement to a redundancy payment for
employees who have a set period of service with the employer. Not all employees
are entitled to this statutory redundancy payment, even where a redundancy
situation exists. If you do qualify for redundancy there are specific redundancy procedures which
employers and employees must follow in order to comply with the legislation.
To be eligible for a redundancy payment under the Acts, you must satisfy the following requirements:
In deciding whether you have worked continuously for your employer for at least 104 weeks (2 years), the following situations will not break the continuity of your service:
If you are an apprentice, the same rules apply to you and you may qualify for redundancy payment unless you are dismissed within one month after the end of your apprenticeship.
Agency employees are also protected under redundancy legislation. If the employment agency pays the wages, it is responsible for paying the statutory redundancy payment.
The Redundancy Payments Act 2003 amended the insurability requirements for redundancy to ensure the rights of part-time workers to statutory redundancy. This amendment brings them into line with the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 which provides that part-time employees cannot be treated in a less favourable manner than comparable full-time employees in relation to conditions of employment.
It means that the right of certain part-time workers (such as those in casual employment or in employment of inconsiderable extent) to statutory redundancy is now recognised. They must still meet the requirement for 2 years' continuous service as described above.
In order to demonstrate that dismissal must have occurred there must have been a termination of your employment, with or without notice. Even if you are employed for a fixed term there is a dismissal if that term expires without being renewed under the same or a similar contract.
There will also be a dismissal if you have terminated your contract of employment in circumstances where, due to the behaviour of your employer, your action is considered justified. This is known as constructive dismissal.
Although a redundancy situation exists, you may have grounds for complaint if the manner of your selection for redundancy was unfair.
In selecting a particular employee for redundancy, an employer should apply selection criteria that are reasonable and are applied in a fair manner. You are entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you consider that you were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist. Examples of these situations might include where the custom and practice in your workplace has been last in, first out and your selection did not follow this procedure. Another example may be where your contract of employment sets out criteria for selection which were not subsequently followed.
Under the unfair dismissals legislation, selection for redundancy based on
certain specific grounds is considered unfair. These include redundancy as the
result of an employee's trade union activity, pregnancy or religious or
The employment equality legislation also prohibits selection for redundancy that is based on any of the following nine grounds: gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, religious belief, race, sexual orientation or membership of the Traveller community.
Your employer must give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the redundancy. On the date of the termination of employment your employer should pay the redundancy lump sum due to you.
If your employer has not paid your redundancy lump sum, you should apply to your employer for it using form RP77 (pdf). If your employer still refuses to pay it, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection for direct payment from the Social Insurance Fund. This must be done online using form RP50. You can read more details about this in our document on redundancy procedures.
You can read this list of frequently asked questions about redundancy.
If you believe you have been unfairly selected for redundancy, you may make a claim of unfair dismissal under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 (pdf). You must use the new online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on workplacerelations.ie).
Note: if you make a claim for unfair dismissal, you cannot also claim redundancy.
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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.