Joe Murphy, director, workplace relations at Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors, provides some tips for employers faced with concurrent restructuring and redundancies
- Can you announce a restructure and implement redundancies on the same day?
While one can sympathise with an employer’s desire to move quickly (and in fact some employees welcome a speedy exit), an employer’s legal obligations will vary depending on whether an enterprise agreement or a modern award covers the affected employee(s).
Those legal obligations require employers to ‘consult’ with the affected employees as provided for in a relevant enterprise agreement or modern award.
In some cases employers take the view that, as they believe they pay their employees ‘over award’, then a modern award is not relevant. This is not so. For the purposes of redundancies, an employee’s rate of pay will not be relevant to the question of award coverage, which is determined according to the classifi cations and coverage provisions of the relevant modern award.
- What process should businesses follow to avoid?
The next requirement is usually to:
- discuss the likely effects on affected employees
- discuss measures to avert or mitigate adverse effects
- give prompt consideration to matters raised during consultation
- must commence as soon as practicable after a defi nite decision has been made
- must include representatives of affected employees, eg unions, and
- all relevant information about the changes must be provided to the employee(s) and their representatives
- What are the ramifications of failing to comply?
Director, workplace relations
Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors