EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Ireland: Effects of non-compliance with dismissal regulations

Ireland
Phase: Management
Típus:
Effects of non-compliance with dismissal regulations
Utoljára módosítva: 10 December, 2021
Név:

Protection of employment act, 1977 (as amended by S.I. No. 370/1996 Protection of employment order 1996 and S.I. No. 488/2000 Protection of employment regulations 2000); Protection of employment (exceptional collective redundancies and related matters) act, 2007

Angol név:

Protection of employment act, 1977 (as amended by S.I. No. 370/1996 Protection of employment order 1996 and S.I. No. 488/2000 Protection of employment regulations 2000); Protection of employment (exceptional collective redundancies and related matters) act, 2007

Cikk

1977 Act: 11, 13, 14; 2007 Act: 13

Leírás

Under sections 9 and 10 of the 1977 Act, there is an obligation on an employer to consult with employee representatives and supply certain information in the context of collective redundancies. Collective redundancy, for the purpose of the act, is defined as least 5 redundancies in an establishment employing 21-49 employees; at least 10 redundancies in an establishment employing 50-99 employees; at least 10% of employees made redundant in an establishment employing 100-299 employees; and at least 30 redundancies in an establishment that employs 300 or more people.

Section 11 deals with failure to comply with sections 9 and 10: an employer who fails to initiate consultations can be fined by up to €5,000.

Section 13 imposes a fine of €5,000 on an employer who fails to notify the minister of proposed redundancies.

Under section 14 of the act, an employer is not allowed to commence collective redundancies until the 30-day consultation period has expired. If the employer breaches this provision, they face a fine of up to €250,000. This fine had been €12,500 before the 1977 Act was amended by the 2007 Act. Offences under sections 9 and 10 of the 1977 Act are prosecuted by the relevant minister.

Hozzászólások

It is considered in some commentary that the €5,000 fine for breaching consultation and information supply obligations in collective redundancies is not effective enough to dissuade non-compliance with these requirements.

The potential €250,000 penalty for carrying out redundancies before a 30-day consultation period has been completed does not apply to situations of liquidation/formal wind up of a company. In July 2015, the Minister for Business and Employment noted this is because 'where an insolvent firm goes into liquidation, it can no longer trade. It can no longer accrue debts that it is in no position to discharge. It would be difficult to keep staff on books and expect them to work, merely to serve out a 30-day notice period, where the employer has no resources to pay those staff, and it would not appear to be in the interests of the staff themselves.

Nonetheless, the government commissioned an expert report into amending the 1977 Act. Proposal #3 from this report is that the redress for affected workers could be enhanced (up to two years' salary) to provide as an effective deterrent against the contravention of the consultation obligations. However, the government decided not to implement this report. Following the controvery around the closure of Debenhams Ireland in April 2020, there was renewed pressure on the government to legislate on the 1977 Atc.

In June 2021, the government confirmed it will remove the exemption on the 30-day consultation for collective redundancies in insolvency scenarios. An outline of the government's plan includes:

  • Where a redundancy arises due to company insolvency, it has been decided that an employee may be placed on temporary lay-off by the liquidator for the duration of the 30-day notification period (with the employment termination date to coincide with the expiry of the statutory 30-day period).
  • To ensure compliance, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) has decided that the redress provision in section 41 of the Workplace relations commission act will apply to a contravention of section 14 of the Protection of employment act 1977 (which provides for the statutory 30-day period of notification to employees). An appeal to the Circuit Court will also be provided.
Cost covered by
  • Employer
Involved actors other than national government
National goverment only
Thresholds
21
5
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