Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy

Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being made redundant because of Covid-19 and the looming recession. In response I and Raise the Bar’s legal advocate Toby Cooper, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights as hospo workers. However these blogs can be used by any worker in any industry. Toby has written our second one: 

1) What is the timeframe to provide feedback to your proposal?

2) What are the specific business reasons underlying this particular proposal? 3) Can you please provide me with the financial records and budget information which you are relying on? 4) Do you qualify for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme? If so, how does this affect the business’ financial position?

5) Have you considered other options, such as redeployment, reduced hours (including reducing hours for all staff, which could minimise the number of staff needing to be made redundant), paid or unpaid leave?

6) Have you considered other changes to the business model in order to improve the business’ financial position, such as a shift to food delivery?

7) If several people all have the same job title: Why are the others not being made redundant, especially since I have more expertise than my colleagues / I have worked here longer / I work more hours each week?

8) Have you considered other options, such as redeployment, reduced hours (including reducing hours for all staff, which could minimise the number of staff needing to be made redundant), reduced hourly rates (which again could include other staff) paid or unpaid leave? Have you explored opportunities for up-skilling or training staff into new areas in order to minimise redundancies? Have you explored opportunities for up-skilling or training staff into new areas in order to minimise redundancies?

9) Are you willing to provide me with any financial support, outplacement (i.e.: training for future jobs the employee could have elsewhere), or a written and verbal employment reference to help me into future work?

10) Can I be paid out my notice period (and any entitlement to redundancy compensation – check your contract!) so that I can focus on finding other work?

Here is some extra information if you were working out your notice and then your employer made you redundant:

Let’s say an employee was made redundant a week ago and is now either working out their two week notice period or being paid out their two week notice. If they are still within their contractual notice period, which they would be, I would argue that since they are still technically employees of the business, their employer should retract the decision to make them redundant and should instead seek to access the Wage Subsidy on their behalf.

The priority is that employees need to get onto the phone with their employers now and protect their employmentFor anyone already made redundant, there’s no harm in them reaching out to their former employer and asking about pay.

If you would like further support please get in touch with Raise the Bar:

E: raisethebarcampaign@gmail.com

FB: @raisethebarnz and we have also set up a hospo support group on FB, Aotearoa Hospitality Workers’ Helping Each Other Through Covid-19

*Chloe Ann-King, is a noted workers and welfare rights advocate and activist who founded Raise the Bar: your hospo campaign, in 2016. She has also written extensively about the impacts of low waged and precarious work in Aotearoa and around the world. Previously she volunteered extensively with Unions in both Aotearoa and Australia and last year she studied for a Post Grad Cert in Human Rights, which expanded her legal knowledge.

*Toby Cooper is legally trained and has previously worked as an employment lawyer in one of Aotearoa’s top boutique employment firms. He’s currently volunteering at Community Law and with Raise the Bar, and has a passion for supporting low waged workers by empowering them with legal knowledge and understanding.


If you would like to support Raise the Bar, you can donate via:

  • PayPal: king.chloe@gmail.com (we are working on setting up a Raise the Bar PayPal asap)
  • Patreon
  • Direct Bank Account: MISS C A KING, 12-3040-0580277-01

All donations go towards maintaining Raise the Bar, we are also hoping to set up funds for hospo workers who need a koha for food, rent and other necessities.

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