When employers engage with a genuine redundancy, it is important for them to note their obligations.

Redundancies are often a sensitive but necessary options for employers to take if the role being filled is no longer required.

In an unfair dismissal context, section 389 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that a person’s dismissal will be considered to be a ‘genuine’ redundancy if the employer has made a decision that it no longer requires the person’s job to be performed by anyone, due to changes in the operational requirements of the employer’s enterprise.

More often than not, a genuine redundancy masks issues of poor performance or misconduct. This is a discrepancy that needs to be addressed and dealt with effectively to ensure unfair dismissal applications are not lodged with the Fair Work Commission.

Primarily, the employer must check the terms and conditions of their employment contract and any redundancy policies that the employer may have. However, the primary obligations in respect of a redundancy arise from a statutory source which is the Fair Work Act 2009 and the relevant award of that employees services.

As redundancy is a common occurrence in many companies, it is important to have systems in place that ensure the emotional concerns of the employee are adequately met. Often this requires the engagement of more than just the Human Resources Department, but additional support services.

For a genuine redundancy to be executed successfully, there must be clear passages of communication from employee to employer. Communication is key to avoid inaccurate information circulating around the office as this can be highly damaging and negatively impact the redundancy process.

It is the HR Managers who will have the most regular contact with the redundant employment and it vital for them to make themselves available for questions and queries as the need arises.

Genuine redundancy varies between industries and award and it is important for employers to be across their rights and obligations to ensure they comply with the Fair Work Act 2009. Are you a business owner or HR Manager and confused about your obligations in relation to redundancy? Call JFMLAW 02 9331 2066 to enquire about your duties as a manager.