Qualifying for redundancy
Where you lose your job because your employer is closing the business or reducing the number of staff, this is known as redundancy. A redundancy situation arises if your job ceases to exist and you are not replaced.
Reasons for redundancy could include:
- Financial difficulties within the business
- Lack of work
- Reorganisation within the business
- The business is closing down
You have a minimum entitlement to a redundancy payment after you have two years’ service. This is known as a statutory redundancy. If you do qualify for redundancy employers and employees must follow specific redundancy procedures to comply with the legislation.
Am I eligible for redundancy?
To be eligible for a redundancy payment, you must:
- Be aged 16 or over
- Be in employment that is insurable under the Social Welfare Acts
- Have worked continuously for your employer for at least 104 weeks over the age of 16.
- Have been made redundant (dismissed from your job).
You must have been dismissed from your job
In order to demonstrate you were dismissed, your employment must have been terminated (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 ended your contract of employment because you were forced to leave your job due to your employer’s conduct. This is known as constructive dismissal.
What does ‘continuously employed’ mean?
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:
- You were on maternity leave, paternity leave, adoptive leave, parental leave, parent's leave or carer's leave
- You were off work through illness, agreed absence, holidays or lay off
- You were dismissed due to redundancy before reaching 104 weeks' service and then taken back by your employer within 26 weeks of that dismissal
- You have been re-employed within 4 weeks of dismissal by an associate company of your previous employer
- You have been voluntarily transferred to another employer and it is agreed that the continuity of your service will not be broken
- You are placed back in your employment under the unfair dismissals legislation
- You are on strike or locked out of your employment
- There has been a transfer of the business you work for to a new owner
If you are an apprentice, the same rules apply to you. You may qualify for a 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 your wages, it is responsible for paying the statutory redundancy payment.
I work part-time, do I qualify for redundancy?
By law, part-time workers cannot have less favourable conditions of employment than comparable full-time workers.
This means that part-time workers (including casual workers) have a right to statutory redundancy. You must still meet the requirement for 2 years' continuous service described above.
I think I was unfairly selected for redundancy
Your employer should use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant.
If you feel that your employer has selected you unfairly, or that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist, you are entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
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
- Where your contract of employment sets out criteria for selection which were not followed
Under the unfair dismissals legislation, it is unfair if you are selected for redundancy based on certain specific grounds, including:
- Trade union activity
- Political opinions
The employment equality legislation also prohibits selection for redundancy 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.
How to apply for redundancy
If you believe you have been unfairly selected for redundancy, you may make a claim of unfair dismissal under the unfair dismissals legislation (pdf). You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. If you make a claim for unfair dismissal, you cannot also claim redundancy.
You can get more information about your employment rights from the WRC. You can contact their Information and Customer service – see below.