Redundancy situations generally occur where you lose your job due to circumstances such as the closure of the business or a reduction in the number of staff. Redundancy may also arise due to the financial position of the firm, lack of work, re-organisation within the firm or it may be closing down completely.
Collective redundancies arise where, during any period of 30 consecutive days, the employees being made redundant are:
- 5 employees where 21-49 are employed
- 10 employees where 50-99 are employed
- 10% of the employees where 100-299 are employed
- 30 employees where 300 or more are employed
Under the Protection of Employment (Exceptional Collective Redundancies and Related Matters) Act 2007, a Redundancy Panel was set up in accordance with the partnership agreement Towards 2016. Some collective redundancies may be referred to the Panel to determine whether the redundancies were (or are being) carried out in order to replace the employees with workers on lower pay or other less favourable terms and conditions. These are known as exceptional collective redundancies. If the panel decides the redundancies were carried out for this reason, the employees concerned will be able to take action for unfair dismissal.
In such a situation, under the Protection of Employment Acts 1977-2014, your employer is obliged to enter into consultations with a view to agreement with your representatives. This legislation is separate from the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967–2014. These consultations must take place at the earliest opportunity and at least 30 days before the notice of redundancy is given. The aim of the consultation is to consider whether there are any alternatives to the redundancies.
Your employer is also obliged to provide the following information in writing to your representatives:
- The reasons for the redundancy
- The number and descriptions of the employees affected
- The number and descriptions of employees normally employed
- The period in which the redundancies will happen
- The criteria for selection of employees for redundancy
- The method of calculating any redundancy payment
Your employer must also inform the Minister for Social Protection in writing of the proposed redundancies at least 30 days before the occurrence of the first redundancy. SI 140/1977 sets out the information your employer must provide to the Minister.
The Employees (Provision of Information and Consultation) Act 2006 requires employers to consult with employees on substantial changes in the workplace, including proposals for collective redundancies. The Act applies to employers of 50 people or more.
How to apply
If your employer has not complied with the requirement for a 30-day consultation process, you may make a complaint that your employer has contravened Section 9 or 10 of the 1977 Act in relation to information and consultation of employees. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie.
For further information about the Redundancy Payments Scheme contact the Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service. You can find out about qualifying for redundancy, redundancy procedures and redundancy payments.