Employers are obliged to follow certain procedures when an employee becomes redundant. Redundancy occurs where you lose your job due to circumstances such as the closure of the business or a reduction in the number of staff. The Redundancy Payments Acts 1967–2014 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. You can read our document on qualifying for redundancy.
Employer rebate abolition: There is no statutory redundancy employer rebate where the date of dismissal due to redundancy is on or after 1 January 2013.
In addition to the provisions in the legislation as regards collective redundancies your employer must follow certain fair procedures that is, to give you at least 2 weeks' notice and on the date of dismissal pay your redundancy payment. There are also various procedures with regard to selection for redundancy, alternative work and time off.
Selection for redundancy
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 political opinions. The employment equality legislation also prohibits selection for redundancy that is based on any of the following 9 grounds: gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, religious belief, race, sexual orientation or membership of the Traveller community.
As with any dismissal, an employer must act reasonably when dismissing an employee in a redundancy situation. This requires prior consultation with you before the decision is made. In addition, your employer should consider all options including possible alternatives.
If your employer makes you a reasonable offer of alternative work, and you refuse it, you may lose your entitlement to a redundancy payment. Generally speaking, alternatives which involve a loss of status or worsening of the terms and conditions of your employment would not be considered reasonable. Similarly, you may be justified in refusing an offer that involves you travelling an unreasonable distance to work.
You may take up an alternative on trial for up to 4 weeks. Where the alternative involves a reduction of 50% or more in hours or pay, working under the new arrangements for up to 52 weeks will not count as an acceptance.
If you accept a new contract or re-engagement with immediate effect and the terms do not differ from those of the previous contract, you will not be entitled to claim redundancy. This also applies if you refuse such an offer unreasonably.
If you accept an offer in writing from your employer for a new and different contract which will take effect within 4 weeks of the ending of the previous contract, you will not be entitled to claim redundancy. Equally, if you refuse such an offer unreasonably, you will lose your right to a redundancy payment.
Your justifiable refusal of an offer of alternative work, followed by dismissal, may, depending on the circumstances, entitle you to seek statutory redundancy or make a claim for unfair dismissal.
Any offer of alternative work should be given to you in writing and you are entitled to full information concerning the details of the offer.
Notice from the employer
You are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks' written notice of redundancy. This notice period goes up depending on the period of service.
|Period of service||Notice required|
|Between 2-5 years||2 weeks|
|Between 5-10 years||4 weeks|
|Between 10-15 years||6 weeks|
|Over 15 years||8 weeks|
Notice when on lay-off or short time: If you have been laid off or put on short-time work, this means that your contract of employment is temporarily suspended. If your employer then decides to make you redundant, he or she must re-activate your contract in order to dismiss you on grounds of redundancy. When your employer gives notice of redundancy you are entitled to the full notice period. If you are made redundant and you are not required to work out your notice you are entitled to payment in lieu of notice which is your normal pay for that notice period.
For example, if you have been on short-time work and your employer then makes you redundant your payment in lieu of notice is based on the hours of work in your contract of employment, not on the short-time hours of work.
If you are being made redundant, you are entitled to reasonable paid time off in order to look for a new job. This right is set down in law in Section 7 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1979. (You should note that while the Redundancy Acts have been amended a number of times the provisions as set down in 1979 for time off, still remain in force today.)
You are entitled to any holidays that are outstanding or payment in lieu of holiday.
Leaving before your notice expires
Between receiving your notice of redundancy and the date your employment ends, you may give your employer notice that you wish to leave before the end of your notice period. You do this by completing form RP6 (pdf) and giving it to your employer. Your employer has discretion as to whether to grant your request or not. You should note that leaving during the notice period without your employer's agreement may affect your entitlement to a redundancy payment.
Social welfare payments
When you lose your job you should register as unemployed by signing on with your local social welfare office. If you have enough social insurance contributions you may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit. If you do not have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance which is a means-tested benefit.
How to apply
Your employer must give you at least 2 weeks' written 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 is paying you the redundancy lump sum, they are not required to submit an RP50 form. However your employer should get proof of payment of your lump sum to you and give you a copy of the proof of payment.
If your employer has not paid your redundancy lump sum, you should apply to your employer for it using form RP 77 (pdf). If your employer still does not pay it, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection for direct payment from the Social Insurance Fund as follows:
- If your employer is unable to pay your redundancy lump sum, they should complete and sign form RP50. They should also submit a letter from an accountant or solicitor stating they are unable to pay and accepting liability for 100% of the lump sum owing to the Social Insurance Fund. Documentary evidence such as audited accounts should also be included.
- If your employer refuses to pay your redundancy lump sum or if there is a dispute about redundancy you can bring a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. This must be done within one year of your dismissal. Then you apply for your lump sum by sending a completed form RP50 to the Redundancy Payments Section together with a favourable decision from the adjudicator of the Workplace Relations Commission.
Insolvency: If the company has been liquidated or is in receivership, the completed form RP50 should be sent in by the liquidator or receiver on behalf of the employees.
You can read this list of frequently asked questions about redundancy.
Where to apply
The application for payment from the Social Insurance Fund should be sent to:
Redundancy Payments Section
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Floor 2, Block C
The Earlsfort Centre
Lower Hatch Street
Tel: (01) 673 4500 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call + 353 1 673 4500)
Locall: 1890 800 699 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
For further information about the Redundancy Payments Scheme contact:
Workplace Relations Commission
Information and Customer Service
Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Fax:(059) 917 8909