Qualifying for redundancy
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
- Complete closure of the firm
The Redundancy Payments Acts 1967–2014 give 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 a statutory redundancy payment. If you do qualify for redundancy employers and employees must follow specific redundancy procedures to comply with the legislation in Ireland.
To be eligible for a redundancy payment, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be aged 16 or over. (Since 8 May 2007 there is no upper age limit of 66.)
- You must be in employment that is insurable under the Social Welfare Acts. Full-time employees under the age of 66 must be paying Class A PRSI. (This insurability requirement does not apply to part-time workers - see below.)
- You must have worked continuously for your employer for at least 104 weeks over the age of 16.
- You must have been made redundant.
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 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 and 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 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 recognised. They must still meet the requirement for 2 years' continuous service as described above.
Dismissal must have occurred
In order to demonstrate that dismissal 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.
Unfair selection for redundancy
You may have grounds for complaint if the way you were selected 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
- 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 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
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 Employment Affairs and 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.
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.
Note that: if you make a claim for unfair dismissal, you cannot also claim redundancy.
You can read frequently asked questions about redundancy on welfare.ie. The WRC also provides information about your employment rights and you can contact their Information and Customer service – see below.