Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has introduced a bill which seeks to deliver a fair calculation of reckonable service for workers on the PUP, who may lose out on significant sums of money in future redundancy payment due to a loophole in the law.
This Bill will ensure that workers do not have a lost year when it comes to redundancy entitlements. When the PUP was introduced last year, redundancy entitlements were suspended for people temporarily laid off.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis a number of issues have arisen for workers who are on lay-off and short time, such as those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. In the main, many workers are unsure of their rights in relation to their redundancy payments.
“Some workers are unsure as to whether they can undertake new employment and still be entitled to their redundancy payment, to be paid when the emergency period is over.
“Others have outlined how their employer tried to make them declare themselves as having resigned, and thereby involuntarily forgo their redundancy payment.
“A significant number are concerned that they have lost up to a year of reckonable service for the calculation of any future redundancy payment due to time spent on the PUP.
“The Redundancy Payments (Lay-off, Short Time and Calculation of Reckonable Service) Bill which I am bringing forward seeks to address these issues and offer clarity, assurance, and fairness for workers.
“It seeks to insert a declaratory provision to remove any doubt that where, during a period of lay-off or short time, a worker takes up employment with another employer, that worker will not lose their entitlement to their redundancy payment.
“This provision will offer clarity and assurance for many workers who have been offered new employment, but they are afraid to take it in case they lose their redundancy payment.
“The Bill also seeks to creates an offence for an employer to treat an employee as having had resigned, and thereby forego their redundancy entitlement.
“This situation has been raised with me by some workers, particularly in sectors with low levels of Trade Union coverage.
“They have outlined how unscrupulous employers tried to con them into making themselves redundant, unbeknownst to them and against their wishes – this would have had the result of these workers losing their redundancy entitlement.
“Finally, the Bill seeks to ensure that time spent by workers on lay off and short time, such as in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, is calculated as reckonable service in relation to the calculation of redundancy entitlements.
“As it currently stands, due to a loophole in the law, workers could lose out on significant sums of money because time spent on the PUP will not count when calculating entitlements.
“This Bill seeks to make that time reckonable service, and thereby contribute to a fair redundancy entitlement, if future circumstances deem a worker needs access to a redundancy payment.”