by Anne Lyne March-25-2020 in Employment Law, COVID-19

In these challenging times, Employers are having to make decisions about their business at an unprecedented pace and in circumstances where the decision-making is outside of their control. Since the first Government announcement on 12 March 2020, which shut down schools and creches and encouraged all of us to stay at home, many Employers have embraced this first phase of change to ensure that as many Employees as possible can work from home and maintain “business as usual”.

In certain sectors where this has not been possible, business has moved to the second phase where organisations are considering layoffs, short time and other measures short of redundancy to protect business.

The third phase is now becoming a reality for businesses that have been shut down and where employers are having to actively look at redundancy. This too is proving challenging given the cost of redundancy where the rebate that had previously be available prior to 1 January 2013 was removed and the full cost of statutory redundancy falls on the Employer. Currently, the state will only step in to pay statutory redundancy where an Employer is insolvent.

The Government has said the policy is to keep as many people in work as possible and in light of these unprecedented challenges for business the government on 24 March 2020 announced certain measures to assist Employers which include the following: -

  • The Government will increase the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Support payment for people who have been laid-off due to the virus from €203 to €350 per week
  • The self-isolation payment will also be increased from €305 to €350 per week
  • There will be put in place an emergency wage subsidy scheme. It is proposed the Government will pay 70% of an employee’s salary up to a cap of €410 net per week. This is the after-tax equivalent of an employee on €38,000
  • Employees earning between €38,000 and €76,000 will be entitled to a payment capped at €350, while employees earning above €76,000 will be excluded
  • The scheme is proposed to last 12 weeks. Organisations will be allowed to top-up the state subsidy
  • The scheme isn’t automatically available to all. Employers will have to be able to show a reduction in income of at least 25% and demonstrate cash flow difficulties

For further information on any of these issues, please contact Anne Lyne or any member of the Employment Law Team.

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