Role redundancy occurs in a business when a position is no longer needed (and it will no longer be done by any person in the business) or if a business become insolvent or bankrupt.
In Australia, roles that are no longer needed can be made redundant for genuine operational reasons including things like the introduction of new technology, a slowdown in sales/reduction in revenue, site closures/relocations or changes to the structure of the business. It is important to remember that businesses make roles redundant, not people, and therefore while this can be a difficult experience, it is not a reflection on your contribution, performance or behaviour.
If the business is seeking to make changes which will impact your role, they should seek to consult with you (about the change and potential impacts) and explore both redeployment options or other roles available in the business. If there are no other roles available, your employment with the business will be terminated by reason of redundancy. If this happens you should receive;
- Notice of your termination which is either worked out or paid in lieu.
- A redundancy (or severance) payment.
- A statement of service, access to payslips and a separation certificate if required.
Most businesses recognise redundancy processes can be emotional and challenging to both employees impacted and to the teams left behind. To provide support, businesses may provide things like;
- Documentation to ensure you understand the reason for the role redundancy, the process and what you are entitled to.
- An employee assistance or counselling service to provide emotional support during the process.
- An outplacement service or specialist resume/interview skill provider to help you find a new job.
- An employment reference.
- Connection to an external recruiter/s to assist you in finding a new job.
If there is extra support you (or other impacted employees) may benefit from, speak about this openly to your leader. There are also some great organisations and agencies that can support you move forward into a new role or to receive financial, job search or emotional support. Some of these organisations are listed in the “becoming an expert” section.
Remember, redundancy processes can be emotionally very tough. This is ok. Make sure you take time to understand the process and impacts on your role/the team. Use the support services offered. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to those around you. Keep things in perspective. They will get better (promise!).
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mwah. making work absolutely human
How to deal with redundancy well
Role redundancies can be a really challenging. There is no textbook “right” response. So how do you deal with these situations well?
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to process the information provided.
Be kind to your leader or the people delivering the message. While it is tough for you to hear you are losing your job, it will also be tough for your leader to share this message with you. If your leader is caring, kind and honest with you during this process, seek to offer the same behaviour to them.
Accept the support offered. Use an outplacement provider to help you make your resume great (or even better). Speak to a counsellor if you are having a tough time. Access time during your notice period to go to other job interviews. Ask for help when you need it. Even if this is just someone so speak to about your concerns, sadness, fears, aspirations etc. Support is important and will help you work through the process.
Ask questions and make sure these are answered in a way that you feel comfortable you have all of the information you want.
Support the team around you. Redundancies don’t often occur in isolation. That means more than one employee can be impacted at a time. Look after the others around them. Understand how you can assist them (or how they may assist you).
Keep it in perspective. It is not fun to be made redundant. But it is just an event. An event that you will move past, learn from and even be better from as a result of. Keep this in the back of your mind and when things get tough, remember there will be life after this experience.
Legally speaking, what are my entitlements?
If the business is considering changes that may impact your role, they should seek to consult with you to understand your views on the proposed change and how impacts can be best managed, mitigated and minimised. This should be an open two way discussion where options are honestly explored and responses to questions and suggestions are provided.
If following consultation your role is confirmed to be made redundant, the business you work with will seek to explore other roles within the business which you can be redeployed into. This means moving you to another role within the business that matches your skills and experiences and are at a similar remuneration and position level. If there are no redeployment options available, you may wish to look at other roles available within the business which you could apply for.
If there are no other roles available your contract of employment will be terminated. If this happens you should receive;
- Notice of your termination (the amount you will receive will be outlined in your employment contract, enterprise agreement, award, or by the National Employment Standards) which can be worked out (meaning you stay employment with the business until the end of your notice period at which time you leave) or it can be paid in lieu (meaning you do not have to work out all or any of your notice period and get paid the value of the notice period).
- A redundancy (or severance) payment. This is in addition to notice and is a payment made to compensate you for the loss of your job. The amount of severance available will be dependent on your length of service and will be defined by your employment contract, enterprise agreement, award, business policy, or by the National Employment Standards.
A statement of service (which outlines the employees service history with the business, start and exit date and reason for leaving), access to payslips and a separation certificate if required (this can be used to seek government unemployment benefits).
How was my payout calculated?
Your payout will be based on your years of service with the business and your age (if you are over 45 you may be entitled to extra notice or severance). What you are entitled to will be outlined in your employment contract, enterprise agreement, award, business policy or by the National Employment Standards.
If you have specific questions about your payout, speak to your leader. Information on tax applicable on redundancy payouts can be found via the ATO website (check out the link in the becoming expert section).
Is there support in finding a new job?
In short yes. The business you work with may provide you access to an outplacement support program. The aim of these programs is to help you identify what types of work or jobs you would like to do, prepare a resume, build great interview skills and even negotiate an offer with your new employer. If you are not offered with a business outplacement service, you can also access similar programs as an individual.
There are also government supported programs like Job Access that can help you in finding a new job.
You may also wish to reach out to recruitment agencies that specialise in your industry/role type. These agencies can help connect you with their clients who have roles available.
Is there support if I’m struggling with this process?
The support offered to employees during redundancy processes will be dependent on the business. Some businesses will offer access to a counselling service to provide emotional support during a redundancy process. Others will ensure your leader is readily available to support you as you need it.
There are also a number of organisations not related to your business who can provide support. See the expert section for more information.
If there is specific support you need, ask your Leader. They can either work with the business to provide this or help connect you to the support services you need.
How do I present this in interview?
It is important to remember that roles are made redundant, not people. This means that your employment was not terminated for poor performance or behaviour, so you should not feel at all embarrassed or ashamed.
Be open and honest in your resume and interview about the fact you were made redundant. Provide relevant context (the reason for the redundancy, how many people were impacted, timeframes) and focus on what skills you learnt during this process or what strengths you relied on to get you through the experience. This can be things like resilience, calmness under pressure/during times of emotion, providing support and motivating those around you or even achieving great results in challenging circumstances. These are all great transferrable skills that can even strengthen your candidate appeal.
Being open and honest during the interview process is great, however this is not the time to criticise or be negative towards your past employer, leader or colleagues. Keep your approach positive, upbeat but still authentic to position yourself well during the interview process.
© 2017 All rights reserved
mwah. making work absolutely human
We hope you do not have to become an expert working through role redundancies, however here are some extra resources to help you if you need more information;
Fair Work Ombudsmen – Redundancy information https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ending-employment/redundancy
I don’t think the business has done the right thing by me. I need help. Unfair Dismissal – http://www.fairwork.gov.au/ending-employment/unfair-dismissal
Australian Human Rights Commission – for redundancy issues related to pregnant employees- https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/pregnancy-guidelines-2001
Model consultation guide – tips to help you consult well (and in an industrially sound way) with impacted individuals/teams – http://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/templates-and-guides/best-practice-guides/consultation-and-cooperation-in-the-workplace
Understand how your redundancy payment will be taxed- https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Working/Working-as-an-employee/Leaving-your-job/Redundancy-payments/
Redundancy survival guide (how to manage your finances, government benefits applicable) https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/life-events/redundancy
Help for employees for who lost their job – https://www.employment.gov.au/help-workers-who-have-recently-lost-their-job
Need some additional support?
Beyond Blue – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Head Space – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Lifeline – https://www.lifeline.org.au/
Attachment – Example Redundancy Letter. This sample document will show you what information should be included in a redundancy letter and will help you understand what extra information you may wish to ask for.
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