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Staffing and Employment Relations

Redundancy - the Process for Making Positions Redundant and How to Avoid Problems

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Here is an example of a serious breakdown in employee-employer relationships we received from a teacher concerning redundancy:

Yesterday the boss walks in the door (having returned from another of her shopping trips in Aussie) and tells me in front of everyone that I am to finish up in 2 weeks.  She's making me redundant after working for her for 5 years and getting qualified.  Says it's because of less government funding for qualified teachers which I don't believe for a minute because she's raking in such a profit. She says I've got too many fancy ideas from training and I don't fit in. To be honest I really don't want to stay a minute longer.  I'm feeling like shit.  But what can I do? I can't afford not to work and with 2 kids to support I need this job and there are no jobs for qualified teachers in our area.  I thought about offering to take a cut in wages but one of the girls said the boss has promised my job to the daughter of her best friend.  

One of the many mistakes the employer seems to have made in relation to the above case is a failure to show respect.  The employer has also failed in a number of ways to follow the correct process for making a position (not person) redundant.

This article outlines employment law in regards to redundancy and what is expected of employers and employees.  How to reduce the pain of the redundancy process for employees is discussed.  

Reference is included to a case brought about by an employee of the NZ Tertiary College (under the same ownership as the Kindercare learning centres childcare chain) to the Employment Relations Authority to illustrate what may happen when a redundancy ends in bitterness and as a lesson to employers on how not to treat an employee (Benton v New Zealand Tertiary College [2011] NZERA Auckland 429; 03/10/2011; R Arthur).


Contents of this article

  1. The law
  2. The redundancy process
  3. Being allowed to leave with dignity
  4. Six tips to reduce the pain


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