The Government has decided to extend until 10 August a suspension of the rules on redundancies linked to temporary lay-offs and short-time work.
The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, confirmed the decision after a Cabinet meeting.
The provisions, which give workers who are temporarily laid off or put on shorter working hours rights to claim statutory redundancy from employers, were suspended until 31 May as a result of the COVID -19 pandemic.
The move was aimed at ensuring the viability of business affected by the pandemic restrictions and helping to prevent further job losses. The new date is timed to coincide with the final phase of the government’s roadmap, when it hopes most business will be able to reopen.
A government statement stressed that the employee’s right to claim redundancy has not been removed, but deferred for the pandemic period.
“For employees an extension of the end-date is important to ensure that they have a continued link to their job and a pathway to return,” the minister said.
“For employers, many still regard their businesses as being temporarily closed and plan to re-open as soon as is possible for them to do so. If we did not extend the end date further, redundancies could occur in the very near future which will burden employers with further debt and have a serious impact on the potential for a business to recover,” she said.
But ICTU general secretary Patricia King said it was "anomalous and unfair" that workers had to accept long periods of layoff, while employers remained free to impose redundancies.