In March 2020 the Government introduced an emergency amendment to the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 in order to ensure the future viability of businesses and help prevent permanent job losses. As a result of Covid-19 there have been immediate and unprecedented volumes of temporary lay-off and short time work situations. Under the existing provisions these lay-off and short-time situations could result in significant redundancy claims on employers in a very short period of time. Employers are obliged to pay redundancy entitlements to employees who have been temporarily laid off or placed on short-time work after a period of time.
The emergency measure effectively suspends these provisions where the lay-off or short time work arose as a result of Covid-19 during the emergency period. In light of the on-going emergency situation, the Government decided to further extend the temporary suspension until 30th November 2020 in order to support businesses in continuing to recover and re-open and plan their future staffing requirements.
Other than this important intervention, there are no plans to introduce any other changes to redundancy law. Other existing redundancy provisions remain unchanged and in force and employee protections such as notice periods for redundancy and the payment of a redundancy lump-sum still apply.
In situations where an employer is making employees redundant but their business cannot bear the cost of redundancy payments at the moment due to immediate trading difficulties, there is provision for the Department to pay the employees their statutory entitlement on behalf of the employer from the Social Insurance Fund. When such a redundancy payment is made from the Fund, a debt is raised against the employer. The Department will engage with employers on a case by case basis to recover the debt on a mutually-agreed, phased basis, repaying by instalment, as appropriate.