Further Extension Of Suspension Of Redundancy Provisions

Government has decided to extend, until November 30th, the suspension of the rights of workers who have been laid off temporarily to seek redundancy from their employer in a bid to help businesses to remain viable and to prevent widespread job losses. The suspension of the redundancy provisions was brought into effect from 13th March 2020 under Part 8 of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020.

Government has also agreed that the pandemic unemployment scheme is to be kept open for new entrants until the end of the year. Under the Redundancy Payments Act 1967, employees who have been laid off for at least four weeks have the right in certain circumstances to demand that their employer make them redundant. Covid-19 emergency legislation introduced earlier this year contained a provision which suspended the right of laid-off employees to demand redundancy. This provision was to last until September 17th and has now been extended to November 30th.

Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys has stressed the right to claim redundancy has not been permanently removed. Employees who remain on lay-off or short-time work for the requisite period when this emergency measure expires will be entitled to exercise their right to claim redundancy from their employer.

At the time of the suspension of the provisions of the 1967 redundancy legislation, there were fears that the Covid-19 crisis could lead to large number of workers who had been laid off by their employer invoking their rights to be deemed to be redundant. There were fears this could have had major impacts on the cash flow of business which would have had to pay redundancy lump sums or, alternatively on the State which could have to finance statutory redundancy terms where companies could not afford to do so.

Minister Humphreys reminded workers that this extension only affects redundancy payments by delaying the date to 30th November, when an employee can trigger a redundancy if they have been laid-off or put on short-time work for a period.

All other redundancy provisions remain unchanged and in force. If an employer is going to make an employee redundant, protections such as notice periods for redundancy and the payment of a redundancy lump-sum to the affected employee still apply and the existing suite of employment rights legislation remains in place.

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