Independent Information on Redundancy in Ireland

Text Box: Legal Entitlements in a Redundancy Situation 

The law provides for what notice employees must be given, what documentation needs to be completed and for the minimum redundancy payments that must be paid. There are specific rules in place about how continuity of service is assessed and how minimum redundancy payment is calculated.

The Redundancy Payment Acts provide for the minimum redundancy payment that can be paid to employees who have the qualifying period of service with an employer. Not all employees are entitled to this statutory redundancy payment. Rules governing the issue of ‘eligible employees’ are outlined under Calculating Redundancy Payments.

If an employee does qualify for redundancy, there are redundancy procedures that employers and employees are required to follow, in order to comply with the law. On the date a persons employment is terminated as a result of redundancy the employer must pay the redundancy lump sum due to them and provide them with a redundancy certificate (section B of form RP50). If the employer does not provide an employee with the redundancy lump sum the employee is entitled to, then the employee can apply for this on form RP77 which is available from the department of Enterprise trade and Employment.

Where an employer is unable to pay or refuses to pay the statutory redundancy payment, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will step in and provide the payment to the employee (s) from the Social Insurance Fund (SIF).

Where there is a dispute, an employee can bring a claim to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. This must be done within one year of dismissal.

Employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks' notice of redundancy. This notice period goes up depending on the period of service. 

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  

Time Off 
If an employee is being made redundant, that employee are entitled to reasonable paid time off in order to look for a new job. This right is set down in law in Ireland in Section 7 of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1979. (employees should note that while the Redundancy Acts have been amended a number of times the provisions as set down in 1979 for time off, still remain in force today.) 

Employees are entitled to any holidays that are outstanding or payment in lieu of holiday. 

Leaving before notice expires 
Between receiving notice of redundancy and the date that the employment ends, employees may give to their employer notice that they wish to leave before the end of the notice period. Employees do this by downloading and completing form RP6 (pdf) and giving it to their employer. The employer has discretion as to whether to grant the employees request or not. Employees should note that leaving during the notice period without their employer's agreement may affect their entitlement to a redundancy payment. 

Alternative Work 
As with any dismissal, an employer must act reasonably when dismissing an employee in a redundancy situation. This requires prior consultation with employees before the decision is made. In addition, employers should consider all options including possible alternatives. 

If an employer makes a reasonable offer of alternative work, and employees refuse it, they may lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment. Generally speaking, alternatives which involve a loss of status or worsening of the terms and conditions of employment would not be considered reasonable. Similarly, employees may be justified in refusing an offer that involves travelling an unreasonable distance to work. 

Employees may take up an alternative on trial for up to four weeks. Where the alternative involves a reduction of 50% or more in hours or pay, working under the new arrangements for up to 52 weeks will not count as an acceptance. 

If employees accept a new contract or re-engagement with immediate effect and the terms do not differ from those of the previous contract, they will not be entitled to claim redundancy. This also applies if they refuse such an offer unreasonably. 

If employees accept an offer in writing from their employer for a new and different contract which will take effect within four weeks of the ending of the previous contract, they will not be entitled to claim redundancy. Equally, if they refuse such an offer unreasonably, they will lose their rights to a redundancy payment. 

Employee’s justifiable refusal of an offer of alternative work, followed by dismissal, may, depending on the circumstances, entitle employees to seek statutory redundancy or make a claim for unfair dismissal. 

Any offer of alternative work should be given to employees in writing and they are entitled to full information concerning the details of the offer.

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