We are living in unprecedented times. The following weeks and months are uncertain and many employers and employees will struggle. Whilst we will get through this, many thousands of employees are currently being laid off or placed on short time.
The Redundancy Payments Act 1967 (as amended) provides that a lay-off situation arises where your employer is unable to provide work for you, but believes this to be a temporary situation and gives you notification of the lay off before the work finishes. The key to a lay off is that the employer believes it to be temporary in nature. Whilst employers are encouraged to give employees as much notice as possible of a possible layoff, in the current crisis, it has not always been possible to do this.
A short-time situation arises where, due to a reduction in the amount of work to be done, an employee’s weekly pay is less than half of their normal weekly pay or the hours worked are reduced to less than half the normal weekly working hours.
If a lay-off or a short-time situation exists and has continued for 4 weeks or more, or for 6 weeks in the last 13 weeks, an employee may give their employer notice in writing of their intention to claim redundancy under the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 (as amended). This must be done within 4 weeks of the end of lay off or short time. An employer may then give counter notice within 7 days of an employees notice stating that within 4 weeks of the employees claim for redundancy, that it will be possible to offer not less than 13 weeks work without lay off or short time.
If an employer does not give counter notice, an employee may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment (provided they qualify for statutory redundancy i.e. (a) have 104 weeks continuous service (b) have the requisite PRSI contributions etc).