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Government announces special €1,860 payment for laid-off workers during pandemic

"Our objective here is to ensure workers aren’t left short and employers aren’t burdened with heavy costs."

Employees made redundant that lost reckonable service while in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or another jobseekers payment throughout the pandemic are entitled to a special payment, per a new Government agreement.

The State will provide a special payment of up to a maximum of €1,860 to workers that lost out on reckonable service while temporarily unemployed and made redundant.

For the uninitiated, reckonable service is the service that is taken into account when calculating a redundancy lump sum payment. An individual must first meet statutory qualification criteria before becoming eligible to receive a lump sum.

The announcement arrives alongside confirmation that the Section 12A provision of the Redundancy Payments Act 1967 will cease on Thursday, 30 September, as previously agreed.

The Section 12A provision was introduced as an emergency measure in March 2020 and has been extended six times. The purpose of the amendment was to effectively suspend an employee's right to seek redundancy if they had been laid off or placed on short-term work due to pandemic-related restrictions.

In tandem with the special payment, the government will support employers that are unable to meet their financial obligations in paying statutory redundancy to their employees, funding those payments from the Social Insurance Fund on their behalf.

According to the government, this method will represent a "flexible and discretionary approach" and in many cases the debt may be repaid over a number of years.

"Our objective here is to ensure workers aren’t left short and employers aren’t burdened with heavy costs," said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on Tuesday (21 September).

"I want to reassure workers who have spent the last few months on the PUP or another job seekers payment because of the pandemic, that in situations of redundancy we will provide you with a payment up to a maximum of €1,860, to compensate for the reckonable service that you have lost due to no fault of your own.

"I also know many businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet and I want to assure them that the Social Insurance Fund is available to help if an employer is unable to pay and we will be very flexible when it comes to repayments.

"With 90% of the population over 16 double jabbed and the vast majority of restrictions being lifted from 22 October, we think now is the right time to remove this provision and that this solution is balanced and provides the best outcome for both employers and workers, after what has been an exceptionally difficult and uncertain period," Varadkar concluded.

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