Do I need to pay employees sick pay?
If an employee presents a medical certificate for any reason, including contraction of the virus or self-isolation, you should follow your sick pay policy as normal.
If an employee contracts Coronavirus (COVD-19) or is medically instructed to self-isolate, they will be entitled to received €305 per week from the Department of Social Protection. This payment is up to 2 weeks for self-isolation and for the duration of the illness if contracted.
Can I place employees on a period of lay-off?
A ‘lay-off’ situation can occur when there is an unexpected downturn in the business that is out of the Company’s control. If you have no work for the employee, and/or the Business is under extreme financial pressure, you can place an employee on lay-off.
Lay-off is viewed as being a temporary situation, so employers should be aware that if lay-off lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.
If you are considering placing an employee on lay-off, you need to ensure you have a business justification for doing so. If your decision was ever challenged in the WRC, you will need to show your reasoning.
Can I put some staff on lay off while others work?
In relation to choosing employees for the reduction/short time, the criteria should be reasonable and applied in a fair manner. The last in, first out is deemed as appropriate, or by department based on the tasks that they are completing.
What is the process for placing employees on lay-off?
You must have a lay off clause in the employees’ contract of employment.
You as the employer would need to inform your employees that you are placing them on lay off and issue them with the relevant notification (Form RP9) confirming this.
Employees are not paid during a period of lay off, they can claim Social Welfare during this period. If an employee is on lay off from a business for a period of four weeks, they can request to be made redundant, if they have in excess of 2 years’ service. If this happens, there will be a cost involved for the company.
When employees are placed on short time this requires that they be reduced to 50% or less of their normal working hours. When on short time employees may apply for Social Welfare to make up the rest of the week. It is important that the hours do not go above 50% while the period of short time continues.
With regards to redundancy claims under both of these systems;
Lay-off and short-time are viewed as being temporary situations, so you as the employer should be aware that if either the lay-off or short-time working lasts for a certain length of time, the employee may be entitled to seek a redundancy payment.
This occurs when the employee has been laid off or kept on short-time (or a combination of both) for either
- At least four consecutive weeks or,
- within a 13-week period, for a series of at least six weeks of which not more than three were consecutive
Within 4 weeks of either of the above situations ceasing, the employee can decide to claim redundancy. The claim must be made on the form RP9. Once the employer receives this form s/he has two options:
- S/he can accept it and pay the redundancy lump sum thereby accepting that there is a termination of employment; or
- S/he can give a counter notice within seven days to the employee contesting their claim for redundancy.
By issuing a counter notice the employer promises that within four weeks the employee will be employed for a period of 13 consecutive weeks.
If this does not happen, the counter notice is invalid and the employee is entitled to a redundancy payment. The employee is entitled to statutory redundancy only. S/he is not entitled to a notice payment, as s/he is the party terminating the employment.