Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Redundancies and your rights

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Workers who get made redundant need to know their rights, the Citizens Advice Bureau says. Times file photo Wayne Martin

As the economy comes under pressure, staff redundancies may increase and it is useful to know your rights in this situation.

We have had several clients, for example, who have been made redundant with little or no explanation or notice.

Our website states: “The employer must go through a restructuring process first, and only proceed to a redundancy process if they decide that redundancies cannot be avoided.”

Redundancy should be a last resort, where it is not possible to redeploy the affected employees to other positions.

If there will be redundancies, the employer must write to each affected employee.

The letter to the redundant employees must include:

  • the notice period (which should be the same as what it says in their employment agreement);
  • the last day of their employment; and
  • whether they will receive compensation and how much.

When an employer decides to make an employee’s job redundant, they must give the employee notice.

The employment agreement might say what the redundancy notice period is.

If there is no redundancy notice period in the employment agreement, the employer must give “reasonable notice”.

If your employer wishes you to leave immediately, they must pay you for the notice period in your contract.”

Another point to check is whether the redundancy is genuine. If the same position is given to someone else, or later advertised as vacant, then it generally is not.

Your employer is not obliged to give redundancy pay, unless such an agreement has been made in your contract.

You are, however entitled to receive all back pay and holiday pay owing to you.

For income support purposes, holiday pay is counted as income, but redundancy pay-outs are not.

If you think your employer has terminated your employment incorrectly there are a few options open to you.

Employment New Zealand may assist you via a free phone service called “early resolution”, where they will speak informally with your employer. If you belong to a union, your union representative may assist you.

Finally, you can go through mediation or take out a personal grievance against your employer (which must be done within 90 days.)

The Employment New Zealand website has more information or you can speak to a CAB interviewer for assistance.

  • This Solutions Column has been compiled by Mary and is a regular Times editorial from the Pakuranga Citizens Advice Bureau. Email enquiries.pakuranga@cab.org.nz or visit us at the Library Building, Pakuranga, phone 576 8331 or Botany Citizens Advice Bureau, rear food court entrance, Botany Town Centre, phone 271 5382 or 0800 367 222 for free, confidential and informative help.

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