A lot is happening in our workplace the the moment. People are being offered voluntary redundancy packages all over the place, and it looks like my wife’s job (we work at the same company) is possibly going to be one that might get caught in the crossfire. At the moment my wife is on unpaid maternity leave until January 2014, at which time she needs to decide if she will

A) Go back to work full time
B) Go back to work part time
C) Not go back at all.

It is still too early to be 100% sure what she plans on doing, but it seems there is now a potential possibility of option (D).

D) Take voluntary redundancy.

Some Background

Around the time my wife was finishing work to have our son, a lot of organisational restructure started to happen. The outcome of the restructure was that her job got broken up and sent off into a few different directions for other people to complete. We always figured that if she decided to go back to work she would go back to her old team and hopefully most of her old work would go back to her. This now seems highly unlikely because her team has been dismantled and her boss has been given a redundancy letter.

So what does this mean for my wife?

At this stage we know that they have to offer her a job if she chooses to come back (this is due to the laws in Australia and the Enterprise bargaining agreement that her job is protected by). What isn’t clear is if they will send her a letter offering a redundancy package (seeing as she doesn’t actually have a role to go back to). Recently people in a similar situation have been offered voluntary redundancy packages, so I guess time will tell.


The Redundancy Package

If she was offered a voluntary redundancy package then we know the following would be offered as a minimum.

  • 3 weeks of pay for every year of service. (7 years of service = 21 weeks of pay)
  • All untaken annual leave she has accumulated will be paid out (8 weeks of annual leave = 8 weeks pay)
  • All her pro rata long service leave will also be paid out (10 weeks of long service leave)

The entire thing works out to be around 39 weeks pay. Obviously this would then be taxed, but I believe the tax rate is set at a maximum of 31.5% for redundancies (according to the Brisbane Times).


Voluntary Redundancy Decisions

Working out if you want to take voluntary redundancy is a fairly big decision. While we have been living off one income for a little while now, we always knew we had the option of my wife going back to work should she be ready to send our son into day care. We have spoken about this topic recently and are still unsure what the best outcome for our family would be. I know my wife likes the adult interaction that she gets at work, she used to enjoy her work and she also has many friends there. On the flip side – she loves spending time with our little boy and the way these redundancies are being conducted at the moment doesn’t give her a warm feeling about the company or its future direction.

If my wife is offered a redundancy and she was to take it, then that would mean she gets to spend longer at home looking after our son before having to find work. This sounds great to both of us, but it is seriously difficult to find work at the moment and you have to wonder if this job (whatever it ends up being when she gets back) is actually worth more than the payout. As they say – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…



If you were offered a voluntary redundancy would you take it?