One of the most important employer rights in Australia is the right to make a position redundant when it’s no longer needed. However, this has to be done carefully and within the scope of the law to ensure you don’t end up facing unlawful or unfair dismissal claim.
Unfortunately, redundancy can be a slightly complicated topic. Because of this, we’d recommend consulting with a lawyer or other legal professional if you’re considering making a position redundant. On top of this, we’ve put together the following list of the top four things to consider when making a position redundant to help you get started.
- Make Sure You Consider Redeployment
One of the major things you have to think about when you’re making a position redundant is whether or not you can redeploy the affected employee within your company. If at all possible, you have a legal requirement to offer affected employees another position, even if the position is significantly lower in the company hierarchy and pays much less. If you don’t you will likely end up facing an unfair dismissal claim.
- Provide Support Where Possible
If possible, you should provide support to employees who are going to lose their job due to a position being made redundant. While some people may prefer to be left alone, others will appreciate support in the form of:
- Being allowed time off to attend job interviews.
- Being assisted through some sort of redundancy program.
- Providing help searching and applying for a new position.
Again, the better you treat people who are going to be made redundant, the less likely unfair dismissal claims are to arise.
- Make Sure You’re Clear About What’s Going to Happen
It’s also extremely important to make sure that you communicate regularly with the employees who are going to be made redundant. Ensure you:
- Set a clear end date and tell them what this is as soon as you can.
- Explain to them what sort of financial compensation they will receive.
- Outline their options going forward and what support is available.
Remember, your employees are people too, and they will appreciate being treated with respect.
- Understand Your Obligations
We’ve already touched on redeployment, but employers also have a few other obligations when making a position redundant. These include:
Consultation – The exact nature of this will vary by industry. In general, though, you need to discuss what’s going to happen, how it will affect the employees in question, and what their options are going forward.
Payment – When you make a position redundant, you may be required to make a redundancy payout to the affected employees. On top of this, you will usually have to give fair notice and cover any leave or other benefits said employee is entitled to.
Overall, it’s not that hard to make a position redundant, as long as you follow the rules and truly don’t need it anymore. We’d recommend speaking with a lawyer to ensure you’re doing the right thing, and make sure you keep the affected employees up to date as well.