Social Democrats TD and spokesperson for Social Protection, Gary Gannon, has criticised the further suspension of an employee’s legal entitlement to claim redundancy if they have been laid-off or put on reduced hours for a set number of weeks.

Deputy Gannon said:

“This decision is a worrying erosion of statutory redundancy rights. Under the Redundancy Payments Act, a worker has the right to apply for redundancy if they have been temporarily laid-off or put on reduced hours and, if after a number of weeks, their employer is not in a position to guarantee them work.

“This right was suspended when the Covid-19 crisis hit to prevent businesses being hit with a rush of redundancy claims, making it harder for them to survive. In the event of an employer not being able to pay statutory redundancy, the payments are made by the State through the Social Insurance Fund.

“The suspension of this right has already been extended beyond its original date and was supposed to be reinstated on August 10. Now we learn from the Minister that the ban on the right to claim redundancy will remain in place until September 17.

“This decision is exceptionally worrying given the recent changes requiring those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment to be ‘genuinely seeking employment’.

“How can workers who were temporarily laid-off be expected to genuinely seek new employment without walking away from their existing jobs and redundancy payments? How can they seek new employment if not technically unemployed?

“I pointed out these discrepancies to the Minister for Social Protection last week but received no satisfactory answer from her. Workers need urgent clarity from the Government on this.”

August 5, 2020

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