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10 questions to ask if your role is made redundant

    Organisations often change, so if you suspect a restructure is on the cards it’s prudent to be ready with questions to ask if your role is made redundant. Receiving difficult news makes it hard to process important information relating to your redundancy. You may forget to ask questions about the notice period, severance package and the services on offer that you later wish you had. 

    In this article, we’ve developed 10 questions to ask in a redundancy meeting. This will help ensure you get everything you may be entitled to.

    What to ask in a redundancy notification meeting

    Usually people are informed of redundancies in a meeting with their line manager and an HR representative. During that meeting you should ask your employer about:

    • Your rights under your employment contract.
    • The redundancy package you’re entitled to.
    • What outplacement support is on offer to help you cope with job loss and career transition to a new role.

    But being told your job is redundant can come as an unexpected shock. This can make it difficult to absorb and understand everything the person giving you the bad news is telling you. You may forget to ask questions about the redundancy package and the services on offer that you later wish you had.

    If you think you’re position is in danger of being made redundant, prepare yourself for the bad news. Here are 10 questions to ask if your role is made redundant that are useful if you’re in a redundancy meeting.

    1. Why has my role been made redundant?

    If your job loss is due to a targeted restructure, rather than mass redundancies, asking why your role is no longer needed can help you understand the decision. This can help you to come to terms with the redundancy and also see that it was not your ‘fault’.

    Remember there is a legal definition of a genuine redundancy. Your employer has to be able to demonstrate your role was no longer required. How did it decide your role should be made redundant, but not your colleagues?

    Try to find out about the selection criteria used to identify employees (some employers will be more forthcoming than others). What was your score against the criteria? How did it compare against others?

    2. Will I have to do a handover?

    Although your post has been made redundant, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the tasks you do have ceased to exist. It may help to find out what will happen to your work once you’ve gone. Following a restructure, tasks are often absorbed into the work of remaining colleagues. Will you be expected to train those staff taking over your role or provide a handover?

    Usually, if you’re leaving your job to go to another role it’s common to have to do a handover but these circumstances are different. But what if you don’t want to do a handover? Unfortunately, while you remain an employee you will be required to comply with your employer’s instructions – including when you’re working a notice period. If your employer requires you to conduct a handover, it may be your best (and only) option to comply. Otherwise you could ask to leave before the end of your notice, however your employer isn’t obliged to pay beyond this date.

    3. Are there other roles I can do if my role is redundant?

    Did your employer investigate all other possibilities before retrenching you?

    There is a legal requirement that if suitable vacancies exist elsewhere in the organisation, they are made available to you. Other alternative options to redundancy are pay-cuts, reduced hours or unpaid leave.

    4. Do I have to work a notice period?

    Even though your employer has made your role redundant, you may have to work a notice period. Going back to work may be the last thing you want to do, and is likely to be a challenging experience. However this time can be useful to prepare for losing your job. It’s an opportunity to organise your financial affairs and arrange replacements for benefits such as health insurance, loans or a company car before your salary stops.

    If you are put on ‘gardening leave’ (when you serve out your notice period at home), what will you be able to do and who can you communicate with?

    Your employer may give you payment in lieu of (instead of) notice. This means you receive no notice, and must leave immediately. However your employer must pay you all the salary and benefits you would have received during the notice period.

    If you have to leave immediately ask if you can clear your desk. Employers are entitled to remove you from the workplace at the same time as notifying you, so your belongings may instead be couriered to you. They may also remove your access to IT systems. This will make it difficult for you to get personal material off your phone or computer.

    5. Can I say goodbye?

    What will your colleagues, clients, customers and/or suppliers be told about your departure? Will you be able to say goodbye before you leave?

    You may wish to ask for the opportunity to undertake an exit interview. This could help you to find closure and get recognition for your commitment and contribution to the organisation.

    6. Are there any restrictions on where else I can work?

    If you have a senior role or access to confidential or sensitive information, your employment contract may have a restraint of trade or non-compete clause or confidentiality provisions. 

    Check what you can or can’t do so you don’t fall foul of these restrictions.

    7. How do I return work-supplied equipment?

    If you have a company supplied motor vehicle, phone, IT equipment etc, how and when will you have to return it?

    8. How much redundancy pay will I get?

    The National Employment Standards set the minimum amount of redundancy pay (or severance) that you are entitled to. Your employment contract or Enterprise Agreement may also contain redundancy provisions. These are the minimum entitlements.

    You are also entitled to a notice period, or payment in lieu of notice, and any outstanding annual leave and long service leave.

    An employer can apply to Fair Work Australia to have the redundancy pay amount reduced. Small businesses (with fewer than 15 full time employees) are exempt. NES entitlements to notice and redundancy pay do not apply to employees employed under fixed-term contracts. 

    However if you are on a fixed-term contract that is terminated prior to its end date, the employer is usually required to pay the salary due for the balance of the contract.

    Your employer should provide you with information in writing about your redundancy package, for your future review.

    Seek legal advice if you think you are not receiving the redundancy entitlements you deserve.

    9. Will I get help to find a new job?

    Ask your employer if they’re providing career transition support such as outplacement services, time off for interviews or payment for training.

    Although you may feel anger towards your former employer and feel resentful about what’s happened, you should accept any offers of outplacement support.

    Outplacement services provide emotional support, career coaching and job search advice that can be highly beneficial when you’ve been made redundant. Working with an outplacement consultant, you can maximise career transition opportunities and develop a job search strategy to secure your next role.

    Alternatively, this may be the right time to begin planning for a transition to retirement.

    10. How can I get a reference?

    Your employer probably will have a process for providing references. Make sure your current job is on record rather than a previous one. 

    Some organisations only provide a statement of services. If they do provide references hopefully your line manager (or someone who knows your work) will have some input.

    A good reference can be critical in helping you stand out from other candidates when job searching. If you think your employer may not provide you with a great reference, approach people who can provide potential employers with positive assessments of your ability to do the job.

    After the meeting

    It may seem an impossible task, but try to stay motivated. Give yourself time to come to terms with the news. Then aim to take positive steps to get back into employment.

    See this as an opportunity to rejuvenate your career. This could be your chance to consider every possible option or do something different. Your new circumstances mean you have time (and perhaps help from outplacement services) to commit to a well-managed and successful job search after redundancy.

    Need help with what questions to ask if your role is made redundant?

    Being prepared with questions to ask if your role is made redundant will ensure you receive the support you’re entitled to. If you would like some help with this, please call us on 1300 911 131 or message us. 

    Updated June 2021