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Redundancy FAQs

What is Redundancy?

A redundancy is when an employee’s job ceases to exist, and the employee is not replaced. Possible reasons for an employer seeking redundancy include rationalisation/ reorganisation; not enough work available; the financial state of the company; or company closures.

Do I qualify for redundancy?

To be eligible for a statutory redundancy payment, you must:

  • Be over 16
  • Be in employment that is fully insurable under the Social Welfare Acts
  • Have at least 2 years’ continuous employment (104 weeks) with the same employer
  • Have been made redundant (dismissed from your job)

What is continuous employment/service?

To qualify for a statutory redundancy payment, you must have 2 years’ (104 weeks) continuous employment in your job.

Continuous employment is the length of time you are employed by the business. The following situations will not break your continuous employment:

Is continuous employment and reckonable service the same?

No, continuous employment is the length of time you have been employed in your job that counts towards qualifying for redundancy. You need 104 weeks of continuous employment to qualify for redundancy.

Reckonable service is the length of time you have been employed in your job that is taken into account when calculating a redundancy payment.

Some absences from work over the last 3 years are deducted from your reckonable service. Absences outside of this 3-year period are not deducted. The 3-year period ends on the date your employment ends.

What is counted as reckonable service?

The following periods are included as reckonable service, (called reckonable absences):

  • The period you were actually in work
  • Any absence from work due to holidays
  • Any absence from work due to illness (see below for non-reckonable periods of illness)
  • Any period where you were absent from work by agreement with your employer (typically career break)
  • Any period of basic and additional maternity leave allowed under the legislation
  • Any period of basic adoptive, paternity, parental, parent’s or carer’s leave
  • Any period of lock-out from your employment
  • Any period where the continuity of your employment is preserved under the Unfair Dismissals Acts

What is not counted as reckonable service?

The following periods over the last 3 years are not counted as service, (called non-reckonable absences):

  • Any period over 52 consecutive weeks where you were off work due to an injury at work
  • Any period over 26 consecutive weeks where you were off work due to illness
  • Any period on strike
  • Any period of lay off from work

The amount of redundancy pay you get is based on your reckonable service with your employer. Some types of absences do not count towards reckonable service.

For more information regarding illness and continuity of service, contact your CWU representative or head office.

What redundancy payment can I expect?

The statutory redundancy payment is the minimum payment received by a person who qualifies for redundancy. However, the CWU frequently negotiates redundancy payments over and above the statutory, legal minimum.

The statutory redundancy payment is a lump-sum based on your pay and length of service.

If you are eligible for redundancy pay, you are entitled to:

  • Two weeks’ pay for every year of service
  • Plus one additional week’s pay

For example, if you had 5 years’ service you would expect to get 11 weeks statutory redundancy pay. Two weeks per year of service plus one additional week 5×2= 10 plus 1= 11.

The maximum weekly amount used to calculate redundancy pay is €600 a week (or €31,200 a year), even if your pay is more per week.

A Redundancy calculator is provided by the Department of Social Protection. This allows employees to calculate how much statutory redundancy they are entitled to based on their circumstances.

You can find the Redundancy Calculator here:

How is my gross weekly pay calculated?

When calculating your redundancy payment, pay means your gross pay before tax and PRSI deductions.

Gross weekly pay includes:

  • Your current normal weekly pay
  • Average regular overtime
  • Benefits-in-kind

If you are paid monthly, your normal monthly pay is divided by 4.33 to calculate the weekly pay.

What happens if my wages change from week to week?

Where you do not have regular hours or regular pay, an average of the last 52 weeks worked is used.

How is average regular overtime calculated?

Average weekly overtime is calculated as follows:

  • You exclude any overtime for the 13 weeks before the date of redundancy
  • Find the total amount of overtime earned in the previous 26 weeks (excluding the 13 weeks before the date of redundancy)
  • If there were any weeks you did not work in the 26 weeks, then the 26 weeks can be extended back for every week not worked
  • Divide the total by 26 to get the average weekly overtime

This average overtime is added to the normal weekly pay.

Is a redundancy lump sum payment taxable?

The statutory redundancy payment is tax-free. If you get a lump sum as compensation for losing your job, part of it may be tax-free.

More information on whether elements of the payment, such as pay in lieu of notice, is taxable is available on the Revenue website here:

Will I be offered alternative work?

Your employer must consult with you before deciding to make you redundant. This will normally involve:

  • Speaking to you about why you have been selected
  • Looking at any alternatives to redundancy

Before your employer makes you redundant, they might offer you another job in the business. This is known as ‘alternative work’.

The alternative work should be a reasonable offer. Generally speaking, alternatives which involve you losing status or getting worse terms and conditions would not be reasonable.

You may not be entitled to claim a redundancy payment if your employer offers you suitable alternative work which you refuse without good reason.

If you are not sure about what to do in this scenario you should contact your local CWU representative or CWU head office.

How should you get an alternative job offer?

Your employer should give you any offer of alternative work in writing if they want to rely on the offer to avoid making a redundancy payment.

You are entitled to full information about the offer. The job must actually be offered to you – you should not have to apply. The new job must start within 4 weeks of the old job ending.

What is a reasonable alternative?

What is reasonable depends on the facts of each case.

Generally, an alternative is not reasonable if you:

  • Lose status (for example, you were a senior manager and are offered a junior role)
  • Have worse terms and conditions of employment (for example, lower pay)
  • Have to travel an unreasonable distance to work

How much notice will I get?

If you are being made redundant, your job won’t end straight away. By law, you are entitled to a minimum paid notice period.

Your notice period goes up depending on how long you worked for your employer – your period of service.

your period of service.

Notice periods for redundancy
Period of serviceMinimum notice
Between 13 weeks and 2 years1 week
Between 2-5 years2 weeks
Between 5-10 years4 weeks
Between 10-15 years6 weeks
Over 15 years8 weeks

For example, if you have worked for your employer for 5 years and 3 months you get 4 weeks’ notice.

You should note that your contract might provide for longer notice periods than the minimum legal requirements specified here.

How your employer should give you notice

Your employer should give you notice of redundancy in writing when they tell you they are making you redundant.

The notice must give you the date your employment will end (date of termination).

Your notice period only starts when your employer gives you this notice and a finishing date. Your notice period does not start from when your employer tells you that you are at risk of redundancy.

My employer says I do not have to work my notice

You still get the same paid notice if your employer says you do not have to work your notice period.

Not having to work your notice period could mean either:

  • You are paid as usual until the end of your notice period, but you do not have to work
  • You get all your notice pay at once and your employment ends straight away (called ‘pay in lieu of notice’)

Your employer will tell you if they are giving you pay in lieu of notice or simply paying you as normal to the end of your notice period.

Taking time off to look for a new job

If you are being made redundant, you are entitled to paid time off during your last 2 weeks of notice to look for a new job. Your employer can ask for proof that you’re using the time off to find a new job.

Taking holidays in your notice period

You are entitled to take any outstanding holidays (annual leave).

If you cannot take your holidays during the notice period, you are entitled to payment in lieu of (instead of) holidays.

How are workers selected for redundancy?

Your employer should use a fair and objective way of selecting people to make redundant.

This means that it should be based on some objective (unbiased and factual) reasons why you were selected, and other employees were not selected.

Methods of selection

If a method for deciding redundancies has been agreed with a trade union, your employer should follow it.

It is up to your employer which selection criteria they use, as long as they can show that they are fair and reasonable.

The most commonly used selection methods are:

  • The ‘last in, first out’ method, where the newest member of staff is the first one to go
  • Asking if employees want to volunteer for redundancy, known as voluntary redundancy
  • A points system, where all employees doing the same job are ranked by objective criteria (could include attendance record, standard of work, skills, and qualifications).

Unfair selection

Your employer cannot select you for redundancy unless they can prove they followed a fair process.

Your employer cannot select you for redundancy for personal or non-job-related reasons.

They must be able to show the objective reasons (unbiased and factual reasons) why you were selected, and other employees were not selected.

Grounds that are always unfair

It is unfair if you are selected for redundancy based on certain specific grounds, including:

  • Trade union activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Religious
  • Political opinions

Your employer cannot make you redundant using any of the 9 grounds of discrimination: gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the Traveller community.

What about unfair dismissal?

You are entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you consider that you were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist. Examples may include where the custom and practice in your workplace has been last in, first out and your selection did not follow this procedure. Another example may be where your contract of employment sets out criteria for selection which were not subsequently followed.

If you believe that you have been unfairly selected for redundancy, contact your CWU representative or head office.

Can I be made redundant while on sick leave?

If your employer decides to make you redundant while you are on sick leave, you may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

Unless your employer can prove there was a genuine redundancy situation and that fair procedures were followed, your dismissal may be found to be unfair.

Even if a genuine redundancy situation exists, you may bring a claim for unfair dismissal if you think that you were unfairly selected for redundancy. Your employer should apply selection criteria that are reasonable and are applied in a fair way.

Can I be made redundant if I am on carer’s leave?

If you are dismissed on grounds of redundancy, while on carer’s leave, under the Carer’s Leave Act 2001 it would be considered unfair dismissal.

If your employer does not allow you to return to work at the end of your carer’s leave you may be able to bring a claim under unfair dismissal legislation. However, you may be made redundant after you have returned to work.

Can I be made redundant while on maternity leave?

Maternity Protection legislation is in place to support you while on maternity leave from loss of employment.

You cannot be made redundant while on maternity leave or additional maternity leave. Furthermore, you should not receive notification of redundancy while on maternity leave as this would not be considered binding. The notice period must be extended by the length of your maternity leave. Even if you accept a voluntary redundancy and are on maternity leave you still cannot be made redundant during your period of maternity leave.

You may be made redundant when you return to work or while you are pregnant before you go on maternity leave. While it is a personal choice as to when to let your employer know you are pregnant, the union generally advises to give them notice as soon as possible as at that point you are now covered by maternity protection.

If you are selected for redundancy because you are pregnant, you may be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. Selection for redundancy based on certain grounds such as pregnancy is considered unfair under unfair dismissal legislation.

I am part-time

By law, part-time workers cannot have less favourable conditions of employment than comparable full-time workers.

This means that part-time workers (including casual workers) have a right to statutory redundancy. You must still meet the requirement for 2 years’ continuous service described above.

I am an agency worker

As an agency worker, you are also protected under redundancy legislation.

If the employment agency pays your wages, it is responsible for paying the statutory redundancy payment.

I am an apprentice

If you are an apprentice and are made redundant during the apprenticeship, you may qualify for a redundancy payment. You must meet the conditions of having 2 years’ service (104 weeks) over the age of 16.

If you are dismissed within one month of the end of the apprenticeship, you will not qualify for a redundancy payment.

If you are kept on as an employee for more than a month after the apprenticeship ended and are subsequently made redundant, the time spent as an apprentice aged over 16 will count in the redundancy payment calculation.

I am on a fixed-term contract

If you are on a fixed-term contract you may be entitled to statutory redundancy if your employer does not renew your fixed-term contract under the same or a similar contract before the term expires.

You must still meet the requirement for 2 years’ continuous service described above. A series of shorter contracts that followed on from each other and added up to 2 years can also meet the 2 years’ continuous service requirement.

I am over 66

In the past, you had to be between 16 and 66 to qualify for statutory redundancy pay. The upper age limit of 66 was removed by the Protection of Employment Act 2007.

Employees who are over 16 and in employment which is insurable for all benefits under the Social Welfare Acts are entitled to statutory redundancy pay. This includes employees who are over 66 and who would be insurable, but for their age.

The time spent in employment aged over 66 will count in the redundancy payment calculation.

What is the difference between collective redundancy and an ordinary redundancy?

You may be part of a collective redundancy if your employer is making a certain number of employees redundant during any period of 30 consecutive days.

It is a collective redundancy where there is:

  • 5 employees made redundant out of a workforce of 21 to 49 employees
  • 10 employees made redundant out of a workforce of 50 to 99 employees
  • 10% of employees made redundant out of a workforce of 100 to 299 employees
  • 30 employees made redundant out of a workforce of 300 employees

Rules on collective redundancies

Your employer must follow certain rules if there is a collective redundancy situation.

Requirement to consult

Your employer must enter into consultations with a view to agreement with your representatives. These consultations must take place as soon as possible and at least 30 days before the notice of redundancy is given. The aim of the consultation is to consider whether there are any alternatives to the redundancies.

What is an ‘employee representative?

Employees’ Representatives’ are defined as:

A trade union, staff association or excepted body with which it has been the practice of the employer to conduct collective bargaining negotiations, or

In the absence of such a trade union, staff association or excepted body, a person or persons chosen (under an arrangement put in place by the employer) by such employees from amongst their number to represent them in negotiations with the employer.

Information your employer must provide

Your employer must provide the following information in writing to your representatives:

  • The reasons for the redundancy
  • The number and descriptions of the employees affected
  • The number and descriptions of employees normally employed
  • The period in which the redundancies will happen
  • The criteria for selection of employees for redundancy
  • The method of calculating any redundancy payment

Your employer must also inform the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in writing of the proposed redundancies at least 30 days before the occurrence of the first redundancy. 

What if I’m on lay-off or short-time working?

If there is a lack of work available or changes to the financial circumstances of the business, your employer may lay you off or reduce your working hours (put you on short-time) for a number of weeks.

A lay-off is when your employer tells you that they expect you to have no work for a temporary period and you will not be paid.

Short-time working is when your hours and pay are reduced due to a decrease in work.

In some cases when you have been in a lay off or short-time working situation for a certain length of time you may be entitled to claim redundancy.

What if my employer can’t / won’t pay the redundancy lump sum?

If your employer does not give you statutory redundancy pay when you are entitled to it, you should write to them asking for payment.

If this does occur, you should contact your CWU representative or Union head office.

If your employer has not paid your redundancy lump sum, you should apply to your employer for it using form RP77

If your employer cannot pay or they are insolvent, you can apply to get the payment from the Government under the Social Insurance Fund. Get more advice from your CWU representative if your employer cannot pay and you are having problems getting your redundancy pay.

I am a member of the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU). What happens to my benefits if I leave?

Members of the CWU who hold policies with Halligan Insurance can continue those policies once they are in benefit at the time of retirement/ leaving. Access to other funds (including Medical Fund/ Orphans Fund/ Sickness Benefit etc.) cease when membership ends.

This guide should be used for general information purposes only as it does not offer a legal interpretation of the Redundancy Payments Act or any other Act