Everything about redundancies (and restructures)

A redundancy arises where the business no longer requires work of a particular kind to be performed. Generally, this arises because the need for that kind of work has reduced (diminished).  

A redundancy is a dismissal. Therefore, for it to be a fair dismissal (and avoid a claim for unfair dismissal) it must fall within the definition of redundancy and a full and fair procedure must be carried out. 

In this section we look at the definition of redundancy and the redundancy process including, selection criteria, consultation and redundancy payments. We also discuss collective redundancy, i.e. where there are more than 20 redundancies being considered where collective consultation and further procedure are required.

Redundancy can also be part of an overall restructure in a business. It is possible to be making redundancies in one area and recruiting in another.  

Frequently asked questions

Employers cannot make an employee redundant because they are pregnant, as this would count as automatic unfair dismissal and discrimination.

However, if there is a genuine redundancy situation and there is no suitable alternative work available for this role, then they could lawfully make the role redundant providing they  have followed the correct procedures and the reason for the redundancy has nothing to do with the pregnancy.

With regard to Maternity Leave:

An employer in Ireland must wait until an employee’s maternity leave has come to an end before serving notice of dismissal or redundancy. The Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 (the “Acts”) provide that termination of an employee’s contract of employment while she is absent from work on maternity leave, additional maternity leave, pregnancy related health and safety leave, during a period of ante or post-natal care or during the period she is still breastfeeding will be void. In addition, any notice of termination served during any of these periods is also void.

An employer considering carrying out a redundancy during pregnancy should seek further advice.

Employees with at least 2 years' service will be entitled to Statutory Redundancy Pay (SRP) which is calculated based on the employee's age and length of service. Please see our redundancy pay guidance for more information.

You will need to give the employee notice in accordance with their contract of employment (or statutory notice, whichever is the greater - see notice guidance) and any accrued and untaken holiday entitlement (calculated up to the date of termination).

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