21st of August
Last month, global employment law consultancy, Peninsula who have offices in Dublin and Cork reported a 477% increase in redundancy queries from Irish business owners compared to July 2019. The calls were from thousands of employers across Ireland calling into Peninsula’s 24-hour HR advice line seeking urgent advice on how they can reduce their labour costs and protect their business.
Commentating on the surge in calls, Alan Hickey, Associate Director of Advisory at Peninsula, said:
“With Ireland’s coronavirus restrictions being tightened once again as we attempt to deal with rising Covid-19 case numbers, many organisations are concerned about the continued economic uncertainty and are facing a significant downturn in business. Considering this, it’s not surprising to see we are witnessing a huge increase in calls regarding redundancies despite the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme still being available to businesses.”
“Redundancies are tough for both employers and employees. However, they are becoming an unfortunate necessity for many companies.
“While economic concerns are a primary reason for most employers considering implementing redundancies, it is not the only consideration. Many employers will have also discovered new and innovative ways of working over the last number of months because of those workplace restrictions. This may lead to a restructuring of departments, and the way work is done, which in turn can lead to increased redundancies.
“To avoid making this difficult situation worse, businesses termination procedures must comply with redundancy and unfair dismissals legislation.
“It’s important to remember that every redundancy process should be tailored to the circumstances of each business. So, if you need to make redundancies, remember to consider what constitutes effective and meaningful consultation in the context of your business.
“Because if the worst happens and an employee takes you to the Workplace Relations Commission or Labour Court, the tribunal will expect to see a firm business case for why you decided to make a role redundant. The tribunal will also want to see that you’ve followed the correct redundancy process. Failure to do so could lead to you making a big pay out to your former employee. None of this is easy. Contract changes and redundancies are among the most complicated areas of employment law and in my experience is one of those areas which employers incorrectly believe to be very straightforward. Therefore, it’s essential that you either understand the redundancy process or have the relevant tools and people to assist with making the right decisions in line with the law.”