Alternatives to redundancy
Being offered ‘alternative work’
Your employer must consult with you before deciding to make you redundant. This will normally involve:
- Speaking to you about why you have been selected
- Looking at any alternatives to redundancy
Before your employer makes you redundant, they might offer you another job in the business. This is known as ‘alternative work’.
The alternative work should be a reasonable offer. Generally speaking, alternatives which involve you losing status or getting worse terms and conditions would not be reasonable.
You may not be entitled to claim a redundancy payment if your employer offers you suitable alternative work which you refuse without good reason.
How you should get an alternative job offer
Your employer should give you any offer of alternative work in writing if they want to rely on the offer to avoid making a redundancy payment.
You are entitled to full information about the offer. The job must actually be offered to you - you should not have to apply. The new job must start within 4 weeks of the old job ending.
What is a reasonable alternative?
What is reasonable depends on the facts of each case.
Generally, an alternative is not reasonable if you:
- Lose status (for example, you were a senior manager and are offered a junior role)
- Have worse terms and conditions of employment (for example, lower pay)
- Have to travel an unreasonable distance to work
Your options if your employer offers you another job
If your employer makes you an alternative job offer you can:
- Accept the alternative job offer
- Take up the alternative job on a trial basis
- Refuse the alternative job offer
You are not entitled to claim redundancy if you:
- Accept a new contract or re-engagement with immediate effect, and the terms of employment are the same as your previous contract
- Accept an offer in writing from your employer for a new and different contract which will start within 4 weeks of your previous contract ending
You may lose your entitlement to a redundancy payment if you refuse a reasonable alternative job offer without good reason.
Trying out alternative jobs
If you accept the offer of alternative work, you can get a 4-week trial period to see if the work is suitable.
The trial period can be longer than 4 weeks if you and your employer agree this in writing (for example, if you need training to do the new job).
You can try out an alternative role without giving up your right to redundancy pay.
If the alternative role means your hours or pay have been reduced by 50% or more, you can do the role for up to 52 weeks without it counting as your acceptance.
If you don’t want to take an alternative job
You might not want to take the alternative job - for example if it pays less or it is a different type of work.
But if the job offer is reasonable (see above) and you refuse it without good reason, you may lose your entitlement to a redundancy payment.
A good reason could be about the job itself or about your personal situation. You might give reasons like:
- Lower pay
- Longer journey to work or lack of public transport
- Extra costs of getting to work
If there is a dispute as to whether a job is suitable, or whether your refusal is unreasonable, you can bring a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission.
If you are not offered an alternative job
Ask your employer for an explanation if you think they have alternative jobs but you are not offered any by the time your current job ends.
If your employer does not have a good reason for not offering you an alternative job you might be able to claim for unfair selection or discrimination under unfair dismissal legislation.
Disputes about alternative work
If there is a dispute about whether a job offer was suitable or whether your refusal is unreasonable resulting in the refusal of the redundancy payment by the employer, you can bring a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.
You should complain using the WRC the online complaint form. Complaints must about the refusal of a redundancy payment must generally be brought within 12 months. This time limit can be extended.
If your employer does not have a good reason for not offering you an alternative job you might be able to claim unfair dismissal.
You can get more information about your employment rights from the Workplace Relations Commission. You can contact their Information and Customer service – see below.
The laws on redundancy
The laws on redundancy are set out in the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967–2014.