With the extreme downturn in business activities for some caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners may be forced to reduce their staffing levels for a period of time.
If this is the case for you and your business please follow the below information:
You have two options:
- To “lay staff off” i.e. they are not required to come into work for a temporary period of time, this will be without pay but they can claim social welfare payments during this period. We can then recall them into work when the situation changes.
- Put staff on “short time” hours i.e. reduce their hours on a temporary basis. We will only pay staff for the hours worked. Again they can claim social welfare during this period for loss of pay.
Where you need to put this into place, you should explain to the employees the reason for the lay off or short-time working and keep employees informed of the situation during this time. In both cases these must be temporary situations and you must notify staff to this effect. You can use a form called Part A PR9 to do this (see attached).
Selection of Employees
When selecting employees for lay off or short-time working you should apply the same standard of selection criteria as for redundancy. The selection criteria can be set by the Company but should be reasonable and applied in a fair manner. For example, the custom and practice in the workplace may be last in, first out or on a rotation basis etc. Under employment equality legislation, the selection must not discriminate against employees on any of the following 9 grounds: gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, religious belief, race, sexual orientation or membership of the Traveller community.
It should be noted that 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 the company notice in writing of their intention to claim redundancy.
Unless the company gives a counter-notice within 7 days of the employee notice, they may be entitled to redundancy.
If an employee claims redundancy in this way (i.e. they start the process), they are considered to have left their job voluntarily and therefore will lose right of notice under the Acts.
A COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who are unemployed or who have their hours of work reduced during to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes people who have been put on part-time or casual work. It will be paid for up to 6 weeks. The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is paid at a flat rate of €203 per week. Attached is a copy of the form employees need to complete.
Here is a link to further information
Address to post the form so people can avoid visiting their local Intreo office
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
PO Box 12896