Should agency staff and contractors be let go first?
Only employees have redundancy rights, therefore non-employees, such as contractors and agency staff, should usually not be included in the selection pool. The position may be different, however, if the contractors and agency workers have gained “employee status“, which could apply if they have a long standing relationship with an employer and work exclusively for them. This is going to be determined on each individual case, and if it is found that such persons are effectively “employees”, then they should also be included within the selection pool.
If an employer fails to consider if the number of redundancies can be reduced by terminating contractors and agency workers, it may render any subsequent redundancy dismissals unfair unless there are good business reasons for retaining their services (for example where they have a special skill that cannot be undertaken by permanent employees), or they are required to be kept on for a particular limited project.