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Announcing redundancy – What comes first, the meeting or the email?

Q: I’d like to know the right process for making someone’s position redundant. Should we send out a notice of retrenchment letter via email first and meet with them afterwards? Or should we inform the employee in a meeting first and then send them a formal letter advising that their position was made redundant?

A: The processes will differ depending on whether the employees are covered by an award or enterprise agreement. If they are, then there is a requirement that the company consults with the relevant employees in accordance with the agreement/award.

Assuming that the employees are award-covered, a genuine redundancy process requires the company to no longer need a person’s job to be performed by anyone, for you to explore redeployment opportunities for the employee and for you to consult with the employees in accordance with the relevant award.

Consultation will generally require that prior to making a final decision to make the employee’s role redundant, you advise them that you think their role may be redundant and give them an opportunity to provide a reply as to why this may not be the case.

Also, you need to genuinely consider any response the employee provides before making any final decision as to whether their role is redundant.

In light of this, the less risky option would be to have a meeting first, give them the opportunity to respond, and then send a formal notice of redundancy.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Redundancy and retrenchment for current advice.

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