The FWC has determined that for an employer to rely upon this potential variation to an employee’s redundancy pay, the employer is required to obtain the redundant employee an offer of employment to the employee that contains sufficient information for the employee to either accept or reject the offer.
In Stabler & Howlett Veterinary Surgeons Pty Ltd T/A Stabler & Howlett Veterinary Surgeons  FWC 1208 the employer made an application to the FWC to reduce the redundancy payment on the basis that the employee rejected an opportunity to be redeployed in another role in the organisation. At the time of the application, the employer had only discussed the new role and no formal offer had been made.
The FWC determined that negotiations alone were not enough to constitute a formal offer of the role, particularly given the first time the offer was made in writing was in a letter to the employee acknowledging that the offer was rejected.
When sourcing alternative employment, the FWC has recognised the alternative employment will need to be acceptable to the redundant employee. When determining whether the employment is acceptable, the FWC will look at:
- rates of pay,
- hours of work,
- seniority/job status,
- fringe benefits, and
- any other relevant matters.
When considering the above factors, it is likely that if the employee is disadvantaged in the new role in any way, the FWC will consider that the alternative employment is not suitable and therefore will not make an order varying the redundancy payment on this basis.