News & Media

Tánaiste fails to provide certainty on redundancy rights for workers on PUP

4 March 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services
  • Impact of Pandemic on Jobs and Towns must be addressed
  • Concerns about redundancy entitlements for workers on PUP

Questioning the Tánaiste at Leaders Questions today, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly raised the emerging national jobs crisis due to the pandemic, the impact on young people, the lack of certainty around redundancy entitlements for workers on the PUP, and when the National Economic Recovery Plan will be published.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The pandemic has destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, and it is now being used as cover for radical changes by the banks to their branch network that will devastate towns across Ireland.

“Job losses announced by the banks, Kerry Group and others are happening under the cover of the pandemic and these are just the big announcements we are hearing about. There is a growing epidemic of job losses, and small businesses that may never be able to recover.

“The CSO put the February adjusted unemployment rate at just under 25%, that affects over 330,000 people or 1 in 4 workers out of work. The situation is even worse for young people who have borne a huge burden, with 57% out of work.

“These job losses will scar a generation and it’s an issue we have to address. There is also likely a tsunami of redundancies coming.

This is a national crisis and there is no sign of a coherent plan from the government. I asked the Tánaiste today where the National Economic Recovery Plan is, as there is is no sign of it.

“Congress have also raised major concerns about the PUP and redundancies. They have warned that hundreds of thousands of workers could lose out on redundancy payments because time spent on the PUP may not count when calculating entitlements. Workers are entitled to 2 weeks of pay for every year of service when made redundant and due to the length of the crisis now they are at risk of seriously losing out.

“I asked the Tánaiste to commit that workers who are made redundant will not lose out because of time spent on the PUP. He described it as a complex issue but failed to provide any certainty that workers entitlements will be protected.

“Speed is of the essence here and I called for a quicker timeline to address the problems identified by Congress. The right to redundancy has been suspended since the start of the pandemic five times. Normally after four weeks of layoff a worker has the right to demand a return to work or seek redundancy.

 “The Tánaiste also failed to provide detail on what the plan is to help young people impacted by job losses caused by the pandemic.”