The Redundancy Payments Act 1967 (as amended) outlines the rights and obligations of employers and employees in relation to statutory redundancy entitlements.
Section 12A of the Act is the Covid-19 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. The decision to extend this suspension to 31st March 2021 was a difficult one to make 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 many employers with ongoing closures and restrictions and 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.
The Government has not made any decision on a further extension of Section 12A at this stage. In its deliberations, the Government will have regard to the criteria and principles underpinning the emergency provision, the public health and labour market situations and the social partners’ views.
All other redundancy provisions remain unchanged and in force. If an employer is making employees redundant, protections such as notice periods for redundancy and the payment of a redundancy lump-sum to the affected employees still apply and the existing range of employment rights legislation remains in place.