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Redeployment

What is it?

Redeployment can be broadly defined as the transfer of an employee to another job within the same organisation or an associated entity.

Giving employees the opportunity to apply for other jobs by competing with other job applicants does not amount to redeployment because it is not a guarantee of another job.

It is not sufficient for an employer to find another job, e.g. a lower-level or lower-paid one in the organisation for an employee in danger of retrenchment, unless an employee agrees to accept it. 

What is its relevance?

There are provisions regarding redeployment under the Fair Work Act, which cover an entitlement to redundancy pay under the National Employment Standards (NES). An eligible employee who is successfully redeployed within an organisation is not entitled to redundancy pay, if the employee’s previous position becomes redundant.

What if the transfer is not considered redeployment?

A demotion or the offer of another position with employment conditions that are substantially less favourable to an employee will amount to a breach of the employment contract, and therefore either be considered an unfair dismissal or a genuine redundancy (the latter meaning redundancy pay entitlements will be payable).

What is considered reasonable in the circumstances?

In determining whether redeployment was reasonable a number of matters may be relevant, including:
  • the nature of any available position
  • the qualifications required to perform the job
  • an employee’s skill, qualifications and experience
  • the location of the job in relation to an employee’s residence and the remuneration (pay and entitlements) which is offered.
The job must be suitable; an employee should have the skills and competence required to perform it to the required standard either immediately or within a reasonable period of retraining.

Should the employer offer any position to an employee in this circumstance?

If an employer has other positions available, even at a lower level, that a redundant employee has the skills to perform, the employer should not presume they will refuse the position. An employee may have no objection to the location of the role being different to the current one and accept less remuneration.

An employee may accept a job offer for a lower level position because it is more acceptable than the alternative -, unemployment.

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