Independent Information on Redundancy in Ireland

Text Box: Frequently Asked Questions
Answered by The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment 

Is a redundancy lump sum payment taxable?
A statutory redundancy lump sum, which under the law must be paid, is entirely tax-free. Only a payment above and beyond the statutory payment (an ex-gratia payment) is taxable –and only when it goes over a certain limit. For information on this, contact the Telephone Information Office of the Revenue Commissioners at 1890 60 50 90. 

What is the present standard formula for calculating a redundancy payment?
Under the Redundancy Payments Act, 2003, an eligible employee who is declared redundant on or after 25th May, 2003 is entitled to two weeks statutory redundancy payment for every year of service between the age of 16 and 66. Employees who have reached 66 years of age and whose date of termination is on or after the 8th of May 2007 are now eligible for a redundancy payment. A bonus week is added to this. All of this is based on gross pay subject to the “ceiling” of €600. This ceiling is adjusted every few years.

What is the position regarding the redundancy rights of Part-Time Workers?
The Redundancy Payments Act 2003 has secured the rights of part-time workers to a statutory redundancy payment through amending insurability requirements for redundancy to bring them into line with the Social Welfare Acts and the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001. This is in line with the provision of the 2001 Act that part-time employees cannot be treated in a less favourable manner than comparable full-time employees in relation to conditions of employment. In particular, there is recognition for the rights of workers to statutory redundancy in the following cases – (a) casual employment, (b) subsidiary employment (where a person depends on another employment for his/her livelihood) and (c) employment of inconsiderable extent i.e. very low wage.

What is the situation regarding workers on what is called “fixed-purpose” contracts?
The Redundancy Payments Act 2003 safeguards the right to redundancy of a worker employed under a “fixed-purpose” contract i.e. where the exact duration of the contract was incapable of being determined at the beginning. If the contract is not renewed following the fulfilling of the purpose, with the fixed-purpose contract therefore ceasing, a redundancy situation can arise. There is already provision under Section 9(1)(b) of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1967 regarding fixed-term contracts under which a redundancy situation exists where a fixed-term of employment expires without being renewed under the same or a similar contract.

Can an employee be made redundant while on Maternity Leave or on Additional Maternity Leave?
No. Notice of Redundancy (included in RP50) cannot issue when a person is on Maternity Leave or indeed on Additional Maternity Leave. The Equality Authority are the experts on this and can be contacted at (01) 4173333. (Lo Call – 1890 24 55 45).

Are Maternity Leave, Additional Maternity and Parental Leave reckonable for redundancy calculation purposes?
From the 1st March 2007 the first 26 weeks of maternity leave are fully reckonable for redundancy calculation purposes (up from 22 weeks since the 1st of March 2006). Furthermore, in respect of all redundancies notified/declared on or after 10th April, 2005, additional maternity leave is also reckonable. The same applies to protective leave or natal care absence within the meaning of the Maternity Protection Act 1994. Again, all this applies only to the 3 year period ending on the date of termination of employment. Absences from employment before that period (in respect of all redundancies notified/declared on or after 10th April, 2005) are always fully reckonable.

The full 14 weeks of parental leave are fully reckonable for redundancy purposes (under the Parental Leave Act, 1998). So also is force majeure leave within the meaning of the Parental Leave Act 1998. Again, the 3 year rule referred to above applies here also. 

Is Adoptive Leave reckonable for redundancy purposes?
Yes. Since 1st of March 2007, the first 24 weeks of Adoptive Leave have been reckonable (20 weeks prior to that) under the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995. The additional 16 weeks Adoptive Leave (unpaid) are also reckonable. The 3 year rule  applies.

Is Carers Leave reckonable for redundancy purposes?
Yes. Carers Leave, up to a maximum period of 104 weeks in respect of any one care-recipient, is reckonable. Again, the 3 year rule applies – non-reckonable service applies only to the last 3 years of service. Everything before that is fully reckonable. 

Does it make any difference to a redundancy calculation whether an employee is under or over 41 years of age?
No, not since the coming into operation of the new redundancy rates on 25th May, 2003 by virtue of Section 10 of the Redundancy Payments Act, 2003. 

If there is a change of ownership and if a person leaves a job on Friday and starts in the exact same job on Monday under a new owner, is that a redundancy?
No. Under transfer of undertakings legislation, the employees should be re-employed by the new owners, without break of service. Of course, if the new owners carry out a complete re-organisation, effectively changing the working conditions of the employees, then there can be a redundancy situation.

Can a person be paid both a redundancy lump sum and compensation for unfair dismissals on foot of a taking a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal?
No. Both can’t be claimed. An employee is either made redundant or dismissed. In a redundancy situation, the actual job disappears, due, for example, to a total closure, liquidation, rationalisation etc. Section 5 of the Redundancy Payments Act 2003 emphasises the objective nature of redundancy as being work related by using the phrase redundancy “for one or more reasons not related to the employee concerned”. In a dismissal situation, an employee is asked to leave, whether fairly or unfairly, and is simply replaced by another person doing exactly the same job.

What happens when different working conditions are offered?
As a general rule, where the terms and conditions offered are different from those of the existing job, the offer must be of “suitable employment” for that employee. Otherwise it would seem that a redundancy situation is involved i.e. where there is a material deterioration in the terms and conditions of employment.

If a person goes from company to company over the years, when does their reckonable service start?
From the start of their employment at the last company, unless that company is a subsidiary of the previous company, in which case it would be the start of employment in the previous company.

What is the difference between Ordinary Illness and Occupational Injury and how does it affect redundancy calculations?
Ordinary Illness means illnesses which people can get in general e.g. influenza. The first 26 weeks of such leave are allowable in calculating a redundancy lump sum, whereas a full 52 weeks are allowable (reckonable) in respect of an Occupational Injury, which is work-related (occupational accident or injury). In respect of all redundancies declared on or after 10th April 2005, non-reckonable service applies only to a 3 year period ending on the date of termination. There is no non-reckonable service prior to this 3 year period.

If an employee is on sick leave for 8 months, with 6 months therefore being reckonable, and 2 months being non-reckonable, returns to work for, say two weeks and goes sick again, does the 6 months of reckonable service start again?
Yes. An employee can go out sick, return to work, go out sick again, and return again, and in each case gets the full benefit of 6 months sick leave being reckonable. Again, this question of non-reckonable service applies only to the last 3 years of employment.

Where an employee was receiving Unemployment Benefit due to being temporarily laid off or being put on short-time, is there any affect on calculating how much redundancy payment he/she are due?
Yes. If it is a lay-off, all the period of lay-off is non-reckonable for redundancy purposes, i.e. must be excluded in deciding how many years were served and therefore in calculating how much redundancy is due. Periods of short-time, in contrast, are in fact fully reckonable. All of this applies only to a 3 year period ending on the date of termination (for all redundancies notified on or after 10th April, 2005). There is therefore no non-reckonable service prior to this 3 year period.

Is absence from work due to a strike reckonable for redundancy payment purposes?
No. It is regarded as non-reckonable service (in the last 3 years of service).

What is the redundancy position for employees who commence working abroad?
Under the Redundancy Payments Act 2003 employees who start work in a company abroad, work there for some time and are then transferred to the company or an associated company in the Republic of Ireland and work here for at least two years before being made redundant, will have all of their service counted in calculating their statutory redundancy entitlements. 

If a person is given insufficient notice of redundancy, being told on Tuesday 1st that they will be made redundant on Thursday 3rd, and given money to compensate them for the remainder of their two weeks notice, (payment in lieu of notice), what date of termination is inserted on the RP50? 
The date used is the date that would have been applicable if they had got their full notice i.e. Monday 14th.

Does the issuing of a P45 always mean there is a redundancy?
Not in all cases. A P45 could simply mean that a person is being laid off for a period of time.  

Note: These Questions & Answers do not purport to give a legal interpretation of 
the Redundancy Payments Acts, 1967 to 2007, or other employment rights legislation.

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