Cartoon showing a box filled with an employee's belongings after redundancy.
Image: © stokkete/

How to get through redundancy: A guide for employees in Ireland

24 Mar 2023

From conversations to have with your employer to tax and finances to mental health, here is some advice for Irish tech workers dealing with redundancy.

Over the past few months, many Irish tech workers and their families have been confronted by headlines announcing job losses.

Big names like Meta, Twitter, Salesforce, Microsoft, Google and Amazon have all announced redundancies on a global scale. With Ireland being a major hub for tech multinationals it is inevitable that some Irish tech workers are feeling insecure in their jobs at the moment. A not insignificant number of people have been told they are being made redundant already. It is a tough time for a lot of people.

Perhaps the only saving grace is that tech skills are in demand across most organisations, so getting another job after being laid off from one won’t be too difficult.

Still, it is very hard to come to terms with a redundancy. People who are facing it have to go through a huge upheaval in their working lives.

Sinead Cullen of NFP Ireland has had first-hand dealings with tech workers being made redundant. She has some practical advice for anyone who has to deal with being laid off.

Sinead Cullen of NFP Ireland headshot.

Sinead Cullen. Image: NFP Ireland

As a private client manager at the insurance and financial advisory firm, Cullen has seen the amount of meetings relating to redundancy in her calendar soar in recent weeks.

“I had two redundancy meetings between 2019 and 2021. In the last two weeks, I have had four redundancy meetings,” she said.

“It’s a very emotional time, with huge stress, particularly if you have dependents and outgoings.”

Here are Cullen’s tips for anyone who is facing redundancy.

Knowing the ‘why’ can help find closure

Make sure you understand the reasons behind the redundancy. Redundancies should always be commercially led decisions so understanding the reason behind the redundancy and how many people will be affected can sometimes help you to not take it personally and work on acceptance.

Remember it’s not you, the person, being made redundant, it’s your role in that business. You have value, skills and capabilities you can apply elsewhere.

It’s important to look after yourself in your current situation but it’s also important to look to the future to start planning your next move.

Know that the breadth of rollercoaster emotions you are going through is normal.

Get support from family and your employer

Have honest conversations with your employer and people close to you. There may be ways your employer can support you and make the redundancy process smoother. Employers can pay the cost of retraining an employee as part of a redundancy package, the cost of the retraining, up to a maximum of €5,000, will be exempt from tax once some conditions are met.

Sharing with friends or family can help you to process your thoughts and feelings – stress, anxiety, worry, shock.

Budget and benefits

Understand your finances. Think about forming a budget to cover the coming months. Finding a job in the current market may take some time, so it’s a good idea to plan your finances early on so that you know what you’re working with. Check which benefits you may be entitled to while you are seeking new employment.

Get professional advice before you sign anything

Do not sign anything until you have received professional advice. Lump sum payments on a redundancy qualify for special tax treatment – they may be exempt from tax or may qualify for some relief from tax. In order to receive the higher tax-free termination payment amounts known as the Increased Basic Exemption or SCSB, you must waive your right to your future tax-free lump sum entitlement from your pension. Sometimes this can result in people giving up the right to a much larger sum tax free on retirement for a relatively small additional tax-free amount now. It is imperative to get advice before you sign away any such right.

Prepare yourself before leaving the job

Make a list of what you need to do before you leave the company:

Update your CV while you’re there and can look back and remind yourself what you’ve been working on. Set up a LinkedIn or social media profile. Request endorsements or recommendations from colleagues. Gather up information on your pension.

Save any personal information that you need such as payslips, pension details, etc.

Mind yourself and your health

When you do finish, get up each day as if in work, keep a routine and set yourself goals.

Take care of your mental health; set time to focus on your job search but don’t let it consume you. Be disciplined in building in exercise, health, diet, sleep, you time and family time. Practice things that make you happy and if you don’t know what makes you happy; use this time to try new things and figure it out.

Do everything to consciously build your confidence back up, power stance, positive self-talk, talk to friends, family and a counsellor if it helps.

Try to consider this as your second chance, an opportunity to redefine your career and life goals. Many people end up in jobs rather than taking the time to pursue their passion. Use this time to take a breath, step back and reassess without constantly running on the hamster wheel.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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