Regrettably we are still dealing with a regular inflow of calls relating to the need to make employees redundant and asking for advice in relation to the process required to be followed. Many businesses continue to find the economic conditions extremely challenging and are having to make very difficult decisions with regard to staff retention.
The process required is very similar for both State and Federal system employers but the first thing any employer needs to do is check their applicable Awards for any specific information relating to redundancy and any Award specific requirement to make additional ‘severance payments’ to an employee based on their years of service.
Whilst in general terms employers with less than 15 staff are not required to make severance payments in both the State and Federal systems there are notable exceptions to this and a failure to take these requirements into account can lead to further heartache and financial stress in an already difficult situation.
Information relating to the process and entitlements can be freely downloaded from both the Department of Commerce site and the Fair Work Ombudsman. However the process itself relies on open and clear consultation between the parties. There is no specific guidance as to the time frame that is required to be observed and, obviously this will be dependent on a number of factors including the size of the business, the number of people affected and the urgency with which a decision needs to be made. Obviously if a business is struggling you cannot take several weeks to make a decision when the business may not be viable if such a time frame was observed.
A rule of thumb is to endeavour to place yourself in the position of the affected staff and to treat them as you would wish to be treated were this happening to you. As is usual in industrial relations make sure that you keep a clear and coherent documented trail and follow up all meetings and discussions in writing, never rely on verbally transmitted information, if you have been to any of our PD sessions you know that this is one of our mantras…if it’s not written down it is worthless.
If you have a Workwise membership, please make sure you call us for support and assistance – a telephone call will cost you nothing and sometimes just talking about your situation can assist you in these tough situations.
If you ware wanting information or assistance and don’t currently have a Workwise membership, then contact our office to book an appointment to discuss your needs with us.
Workplace Advantage members who have recently logged into their portal will see that we have begun loading a series of short and helpful ‘tutorials’ across a range of topics. We plan to add regularly to these over time and the first group are there ready for you to access.
They take just a few minutes to run through and will hopefully provide you with practical advice and tips. In fact the whole thing revolves around a theme of ’10 Tips’ and so far we have looked at Bullying and Harassment, Disciplinary Meetings and Termination. Do make sure you log in and check them out.