6 Aug 2020

Suspension of Redundancies for Temp Lay-Offs & Short-time Workers Extended

The Government has extended the suspension of redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-offs and short-time work situations until September 17th.

Minister Humphreys outlined that extending the end date further will help prevent redundancies that could occur in the very near future which would burden employers with further debt and have a serious impact on the potential for a business to recover.

The further extension until September 17th is necessary to mitigate against the risk of insolvency and bankruptcy situations, further job losses and will contribute to the viability of business.

It is important to note that the employee’s right to claim redundancy has not been removed, but deferred for the emergency period in circumstances of temporary lay-off or short-time employment.

It is considered that an extension of the end-date is important for employees to ensure that they have a continued link to their job and a pathway to return.

Many employers still regard their businesses as being temporarily closed or they are operating well below their capacity, this will be particularly relevant to business that have still not received the go ahead to re-open under current Covid-19 restrictions.

Many businesses plan to re-open as soon as it is possible for them to do so. It is only then that they can fully evaluate the situation, hopefully many employees who were temporarily laid-off or who seen their hours cut will be able to return to full employment with their employers. It is hoped at that time that the measures in the Jobs Stimulus package will assist employers manage the recovery of their businesses.

This extension follows on from when the suspension of such redundancy provisions that were introduced in March this year when the Covid-19 emergency situation arose.

At the time, the extensions were considered necessary to ensure the future viability of businesses and help prevent further permanent job losses. This rationale continues to apply to this latest extension.

Current restrictions

Where restrictions are still having an impact, for example in the pubs, arts and entertainment sectors, Minister Humphreys and the Department of Social Protection want people in those sectors to be able to return to their jobs once restrictions have eased.

·   Workers who remain temporarily laid-off are therefore not required to meet the Genuinely Seeking Work requirement for work in other sectors.

The focus for the Department will, as always, be on supporting those who have been permanently laid-off and who now need to look for new job opportunities. The Department will support these individuals through a range of measures such as access to education and training courses, work experience opportunities and financial supports to start their own business with the goal of helping these individuals secure employment.

According to the Governments’ official publication, it is important to point out that the Redundancy Payment Acts and the Social Welfare (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020, as passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, are separate pieces of legislation. Section 11 of the Bill is very clear that the work a person is seeking but unable to obtain has regard for being suitable to the education and normal occupation of the jobseeker. Therefore workers temporarily laid-off or artists waiting for venues to reopen will be deemed to meet the Genuinely Seeking Work conditionality if the Bill is signed into law by the President.

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