Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (36)

Cian O'Callaghan


36. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the rule to stop employees claiming redundancy during the emergency period will be extended past 31 March 2021; if persons who have lost their jobs will be able to claim redundancy for the period of 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7346/21]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

Section 12A of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 is the emergency provision which suspends an employee’s entitlement to claim redundancy from their employer, following certain periods of lay-off or short time work due to Covid-19, for the duration of the emergency period.

The decision to extend this suspension to 31st March 2021 was a difficult one and was disappointing for those employees who are experiencing uncertainty. But in making this decision the Government was conscious that Quarter 1 of 2021 will be particularly difficult for employers with ongoing closures and restrictions. We had to consider the need to ensure businesses survive and that permanent job losses and insolvency situations are avoided as much as possible.

It was also considered that an extension of the end-date was important for employees to ensure that they have a continued link to their job and a pathway to return. The Pandemic Unemployment Payment will remain open until the end of March 2021 in order to support affected employees as will the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

A decision on a further extension has not been made at this stage. In the deliberations, regard will be had to the criteria and principles underpinning the emergency provision, the public health and labour market situations and the views of the social partners.

Reckonable service is service that is to be taken into account when calculating a redundancy payment. Reckonable service is regarded as a week within continuous employment which the employee is actually at work or is absent from work due to specific reasons such as periods of sickness or holidays.

The Act specifies the various types of absences which are allowable and not allowable as reckonable service for the purpose of the calculation. A period of lay-off within the final 3 years of service before redundancy is not allowable as reckonable service and is not included as service for the purposes of the calculation of the redundancy lump sum payment.