As many businesses head towards a potential JobMaker ‘cliff’ some may need to start having tough conversations with employees about the future of the business and their roles within it.

Unfortunately, some industries have not been able to come back to their pre-COVID-19 state, and are unlikely to, while international borders are still closed and interstate lockdowns create havoc for travel plans.

Although businesses with under 15 employees may not be required to pay redundancy pay, there are generally consultation obligations to consider, which can take some time. Consultation obligations apply where an employer has made a decision to introduce major changes, such as changes of hours, opening days, staff numbers etc., that are likely to have a significant impact on employees.

Employer obligations for consultation include:

  • the employer must notify the employees who may be affected;
  • the employer must discuss the changes with the affected employees and consider any matters raised by the employees as soon as possible after a decision has been made to initiate redundancies; and
  • The employer must provide information about the changes in writing to the employees for the purposes of the discussions.

Awards and agreements may set different terms regarding consultation.

It is important that the redundancy process implemented, particularly in regards to procedures used to consult with employees, is appropriately documented. This will help to demonstrate that the selection and implementation process was justifiable and fair should an employee make a claim for unfair dismissal.

We’ve put together a useful guide to help you through the redundancy process, or if you need, give us a call for personalised advice for working through these difficult decisions and conversations.