Redundancy roadmap: What if there’s not enough work?

As the property market continues to slow, many agencies are facing tough decisions when it comes to their employees. What can you do when there’s no longer enough work to go around? Is redundancy an option?

A genuine redundancy occurs when an employer decides they no longer require a particular job to be done – not just by the person currently in the position, but also by anyone else in the future.

A redundancy must be genuine and can’t be based on performance issues. Where it’s based on performance, the risk of litigation increases substantially.

What to do

There are award obligations requiring an employer to consult with employees when considering redundancies. This consultation must occur prior to any decision being made about redundancies.

Consultation involves meeting with all employees who may be affected by any proposed redundancies. At the meeting, employers should discuss:

  • The changes being considered or proposed
  • The key reasons for any proposed changes
  • The effect any proposed changes may have on employees’ positions
  • The measures to be put in place to avert or mitigate any adverse effects of the changes
  • Any suggestions employees wish to offer
  • Any matters raised by employees.

After the meeting and once a decision is made to make one or more positions redundant, employers must have a one-on-one consultation meeting with each employee whose position is being made redundant.

This obligation to consult applies to all employers, big or small.

Redundancy pay

Employers with 15 or more employees are required by the Fair Work Act 2009 to pay redundancy pay when making a full-time or part-time position redundant. Employers with less than 15 employees are not required to pay redundancy pay.

An employee who is being made redundant must be provided with:

  • Notice or pay in lieu of notice


  • Outstanding annual leave entitlements


  • Long service leave (where applicable).

Employers should always seek advice about their redundancy pay obligations, particularly if:

  • they employ any casual staff
  • have any associated or related companies, or if the employee concerned formerly worked for an associated company of the employer
  • they transferred from another employer (for example, through a business acquisition, merger, insourcing or outsourcing arrangement).


If you’re considering redundancy, we strongly encourage you to call REEF on 1300 616 170. Our Workplace Relations Advisors will step you through the process from beginning to end.