A plan to strengthen redundancy legislation was recently brought to Cabinet by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney.
The memo includes measures such as ensuring that all collective redundancies will be subject to a 30-day notification period before they take effect, including where the employer is insolvent. This removes the exemption from notification requirements in respect of collective redundancies caused by an employer’s insolvency.
It also proposes changing legislation to explicitly provide that the employer’s obligations must also be complied with by a liquidator or similar appointee, where they are managing the collective redundancy process in an insolvency situation. This means the WRC could prosecute if a liquidator or similar appointee failed to comply with their duties under the act.
The plan also seeks to improve the quality and circulation of information to workers, to ensure they have access, within a reasonable period, to the company’s Statement of Affairs. This is filed with the court and ensures the provisional liquidator informs them of their appointment, explains the liquidation process and invites them to provide relevant information. This would make them similar to creditors.
This change would apply to all collective redundancies, not just those precipitated by insolvency. This is in addition to employees’ existing right to make a complaint to the WRC should their employer fail to consult with or provide information to their representatives.
In February Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Minister Coveney was engaging with the tech sector “at the highest level” after Google announced it would cut 240 employees from its Irish workforce. A wave of redundancies has been taking place in the tech sector since Twitter and Meta announced job losses last autumn.
The then Taoiseach Micheál Martin called on companies to give employees the required amount of time before making them redundant, after it appeared that Twitter intended to terminate employees immediately. The Taoiseach said. “Employees of any company must be treated with respect and dignity, it’s unacceptable what’s happening within Twitter in terms of employees, who must have a very uncertain future.”
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