Covid 19 Employment Update

Changes to Redundancy Rules during Covid 19

April 1, 2020

Redundancy - Changes to Redundancy Rules during Covid-19 Emergency Period

The law on claiming redundancy from your employer if you have been temporarily laid off, or temporarily put on short-time work will change during the COVID-19 emergency period.

Normally, if you are laid off or put on short-time hours, you can claim redundancy from your employer after 4 weeks or more, or 6 weeks in the last 13 weeks.

Under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act, you will not be able to claim redundancy during the emergency period if you were laid off or put on short-time work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The emergency period set out in legislation is 13 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. This period may be extended.

Reduction of hours/no work:

Most employment contracts will include provisions which allow the employer to reduce employees’ hours either to short time working or to temporary lay-off in the event of a temporary reduction in business. You remain an employee even if you are not being paid. Employers are not at liberty to unilaterally reduce an employee’s hours, even in such unusual circumstances as this current crisis.  Employers should first check the written contracts and then seek the employees’ written consent to the proposed action. An employee could potentially take a claim against the employer under the Payment of Wages Act to have any reduction in wages rectified once the crisis is over if consent is not first obtained.

Employers have been asked to retain employees where possible.

Your employer can continue to pay you under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme while you are temporarily laid off from work or working fewer hours or you may be able to apply for a social welfare payment like the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment if you are no longer receiving a payment from your employer or the Jobseekers Benefit.

Annual leave and public holidays during lay off or short-time working

During lay off or short-time working, you still are employed by your employer and your contract of employment remains in force. This means that you are entitled to benefit for any public holidays that occur during the first 13 weeks of lay off.

You do not accrue annual leave during lay off but you are entitled to take annual leave that you accrued before being laid off.

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