Redundancy procedures

Introduction

Where you lose your job because your employer is closing the business or reducing the number of staff, this is known as redundancy. It happens when your position in the company (this means the role itself, such as ‘Receptionist’ or ‘Sales assistant’) ceases to exist, you are let go and not replaced.

Employers must follow certain procedures when making an employee redundant. They must use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant. Depending on how long you have worked for your employer, you may be entitled to a redundancy payment or ‘lump sum’.

This page explains the correct procedures for redundancy. You can also read about being made redundant following lay-off or short-time working.

Being selected for redundancy

Your employer should use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant.

Examples of fair selection: Examples of unfair selection:
Some employers may use the ‘last in, first out’ method. This means the newest member of staff is the first one to go. An employer cannot make you redundant using any of the 9 grounds for discrimination, including your age, gender, race or sexual orientation.
Some employers ask if employees want to volunteer for redundancy. This is called voluntary redundancy. An employer cannot select you for redundancy for personal or non-job-related reasons (for example, political reasons).
Some employers use a ‘point system’, where all employees doing the same job are ranked by objective criteria. This may include:
  • Attendance record (excluding sick leave, maternity leave, and so on).
  • Standard of work done (for example, the number of sales made over a certain time period)
  • Skills and qualifications
An employer cannot select you for redundancy unless they can prove they followed a fair process.

They must be able to show the objective reasons (unbiased and factual reasons) why you were selected and other employees were not selected.

If you are unfairly selected for redundancy

If you feel you were unfairly selected for redundancy, or that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist, you can bring a claim for unfair dismissal. For example, if 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, and these were not followed.

If your employer offers you ‘alternative work’

Your employer must consult with you before deciding to make you redundant.

Before your employer makes you redundant, they might offer you another job in the business. This is known as ‘alternative work’.

Any offer of alternative work should be given to you in writing. You are entitled to full information about the offer.

Accepting alternative work

You can take up an alternative role on trial basis, for up to 4 weeks.

You will not be entitled to claim redundancy if either of the following applies:

  • You accept a new contract or re-engagement with immediate effect, and the terms of employment are the same as your previous contract
  • You 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

Working under the new arrangements for up to 52 weeks will not count as an acceptance of alternative work if the alternative involves a reduction in hours or pay of 50% or more.

Refusing alternative work

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, an alternative is not considered 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

If you have good reason to refuse the alternative work and are dismissed as a result, you may be entitled to claim statutory redundancy or unfair dismissal.

Getting notice of redundancy

You are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks' written notice of redundancy. This notice period goes up depending on your period of service (how long you worked for the employer).

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

If you are on lay-off or short-time work

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, they 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.

Read more about lay-off, short-time working and redundancy.

Can I leave before the notice period ends?

If you want to leave your employment before the end of your notice period, you must complete form RP6 (pdf) and give it to your employer.

Your employer can decide whether or not to allow your request.

If you leave your employment during the notice period without your employer's agreement, it may affect your entitlement to a redundancy payment.

Time off to look for a new job

If you are being made redundant, you are entitled to paid time off during your last 2 weeks of notice to look for a new job. Your employer may ask for proof that you’re using the time off to find new employment.

This right is set down in law in Section 7 of the Redundancy Payments Act 1979.

If you have outstanding holidays

You are entitled to take any outstanding holidays (annual leave). If you cannot take your holidays during the notice period, you are entitled to payment in lieu of (instead of) holidays.

Getting your redundancy lump sum

Your employer should pay the redundancy lump sum due to you on the date your employment ends.

If your employer is paying you the redundancy lump sum, they do not have to submit an online application form (previously called the RP50 form). However, your employer should get proof that they paid 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).

Read more about how to apply for your redundancy lump sum.

Signing on for social welfare payments

When you lose your job, you should register as unemployed by signing on with your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

If you have enough social insurance contributions (PRSI contributions), you may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit. If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Further information on redundancy

The laws on redundancy are set out in the:

If you are applying for payment from the Social Insurance Fund, contact:

Redundancy Payments Section

Department of Social Protection

Ground Floor
Gandon House
Amiens Street
Dublin 1
D01 A361

Tel: (01) 673 4500 or 0818 111 112
Page edited: 24 September 2021