From 30th September 2021 employees will have the right to claim redundancy from their employer restored.
This right was suspended in March 2020 as part of the State’s measures to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. The State was fearful that a tsunami of redundancies were possible when many businesses were forced to lay employees off.
That right is set out in the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 in section 12:
[12.—(1) An employee shall not be entitled to redundancy payment by reason of having been laid off or kept on short-time unless—
(a) he has been laid off or kept on short-time for four or more consecutive weeks or, within a period of thirteen weeks, for a series of six or more weeks of which not more than three were consecutive, and
(b) after the expiry of the relevant period of lay-off or short-time mentioned in paragraph (a) and not later than four weeks after the cessation of the lay-off or short-time, he gives to his employer notice (in this Part referred to as a notice of intention to claim) in writing of his intention to claim redundancy payment in respect of lay-off or short-time.
(2) Where, after the expiry of the relevant period of lay-off or short-time mentioned in subsection (1) (a) and not later than four weeks after the cessation of the lay-off or short time, an employee to whom that subsection applies, in lieu of giving to his employer a notice of intention to claim, terminates his contract of employment either by giving him the notice thereby required or, if none is so required, by giving him not less than one week’s notice in writing of intention to terminate the contract, the notice so given shall, for the purposes of this Part and of Schedule 2, be deemed to be a notice of intention to claim given in writing to the employer by the employee on the date on which the notice is actually given.]
The suspension of this right will be lifted from 30th September 2021 allowing employees to again serve notice claiming redundancy.
However, the employer can serve a counter-notice where they believe that they will have work for that employee within 4 weeks of the notice and that this work will last for 13 weeks without lay off.
Right of employer to give counter-notice.
13.—(1) Subject to subsection (2), an employee shall not be entitled to a redundancy payment in pursuance of a notice of intention to claim if, on the date of service of that notice, it was reasonably to be expected that the employee (if he continued to be employed by the same employer) would, not later than four weeks after that date, enter upon a period of employment of not less than thirteen weeks during which he would not be laid off or kept on short-time for any week.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply unless, within seven days after the service of the notice of intention to claim, the employer gives to the employee notice (in this Part referred to as a counter-notice) in writing that he will contest any liability to pay to him a redundancy payment in pursuance of the notice of intention to claim.
(3) If, in a case where an employee gives notice of intention to claim and the employer gives a counter-notice, the employee continues or has continued, during the next four weeks after the date of service of the notice of intention to claim, to be employed by the same employer, and he is or has been laid off or kept on short-time for each of those weeks, it shall be conclusively presumed that the condition specified in subsection (1) was not fulfilled.
(4) For the purposes of F32[section 12] and for the purposes of subsection (3)—
(a) it is immaterial whether a series of weeks (whether it is four weeks, or four or more weeks, or six or more weeks) consists wholly of weeks for which the employee is laid off or wholly of weeks for which he is kept on short-time or partly of the one and partly of the other;
(b) no account shall be taken of any week for which an employee is laid off or kept on short-time where the lay-off or short-time is wholly or mainly attributable to a strike or a lock-out, whether the strike or lock-out is in the trade or industry in which the employee is employed or not and whether it is in the State or elsewhere.
Reckonable service for the purposes of redundancy calculation
It is the case that a period of lay off is not counted as “reckonable service” when calculating the employee’s redundancy entitlement. If this was applied without exception it would have been certain that any employee on lay off since March 2020 would have lost out on 18 months’ reckonable service through no fault of their own.
For this reason, the Government have announced that a special payment of €1,860 will be paid to employees who have lost out on reckonable service and are made redundant.