What to do if your work has been affected by COVID-19

If your work has been affected by the pandemic, it is important to know what supports are available

Written by spunout


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s work situations. 

What to do if your work has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Whether you lost your job or are unable to work due to illness, it is important to know what support is available. 

What am I entitled to if I lose my job as a result of the pandemic?

If you lost your job due to the pandemic, you are entitled to support.

Employee Entitlements: Redundancy

If you are permanently let go from your employment, for example as a result of lack of work or due to the closure of your employer’s business, you may be entitled to a redundancy lump sum. A redundancy lump sum is when you are given an amount of money when being let go from your job. To qualify, you must have over two or more years of ‘reckonable service’ and there are rules in place to calculate service. 

Reckonable service is any time you’ve spent working in the one job in which you have built up an entitlement to a benefit, such as redundancy. Two weeks’ pay per ‘reckonable’ year of service, plus a ‘bonus’ week, is payable, capped at a maximum of €600 per week. So, for example, if you have five years’ service, you would be entitled to 11 weeks’ pay. Depending on your length of service, this may amount to an important sum of money (which is paid tax free) at a difficult time.

You can use this online calculator to figure out your redundancy pay entitlement.

Where your employer is insolvent, meaning they are unable to pay the debts they owe, and cannot afford to make this payment, it may be claimed from the state Social Insurance Fund, which is based in the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. An employee who is owed other monies, such as pay in lieu of notice, unpaid wages or outstanding holiday pay, may also claim these amounts from the Fund.

Employee Entitlements: Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance

If you lose your job, you may be entitled to an unemployment social welfare payment. If you have enough social insurance contributions, which is a type of tax you pay, you may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit. If you do not have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance which is a means-tested benefit. Depending on your circumstances you may qualify for a medical card or GP visit card and other secondary benefits such as Rent Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme.

What am I entitled to if my employer reduces my working hours? 

If you have had your hours cut at work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be entitled to Short Time Work Support. This payment is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit for people who have been temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer.

To qualify for Short Time Work Support, you must meet the two main PRSI Conditions for Jobseeker’s Benefit.

You must: 

  • Work three days per week or less to qualify, having previously been employed on a full time basis
  • Be under 66 years of age
  • Be capable of work and be available for full-time work
  • Have enough paid or credited social insurance (PRSI) contributions at class A, H, S or P

Rate of payment will depend on your average weekly earnings in the contribution year and the change in your work pattern. You can apply for the payment through MyWelfare.ie or at your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office

What support is available if I’m under 18 and out of work?

If you are under 18 and were working full or part-time hours before the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, there are some things to be aware of.

You may be entitled to Annual Leave or Holiday pay depending on your employer and how many hours you were working. It could be a good idea to check in with your employer and see what they can provide. Employers are expected to be flexible during these uncertain times and if you feel your employer is not giving you what you are entitled to, there are supports that can help. FLAC (The Free Legal Advice Centre) offers some basic legal assistance for free and is currently available to contact via phone on Lo-Call 1890 350 250 or 01-8745690.

If you are struggling financially it could be a good idea to get in touch with MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) to see if they can provide any support.

Find out more about your work rights when aged under 18.

I can’t work as I need to care for someone with COVID-19. What can I do?

If you cannot work due to caring for a person with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) there are different leave options available to you from your employer and the Government. Find out more about the options available to you if you’re out of work and caring for someone with COVID-19.

Am I entitled to sick pay if I have COVID-19? 

If you test positive for COVID-19 or you are told you need to self-isolate and you are unable to go to work, you are entitled to apply for the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit.

You can apply for COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit if you are an employee or self-employed. Workers who live in Direct Provision are also entitled to apply for Enhanced Illness Benefit. Find out more about Enhanced Illness Benefit.

Need more information, advice or guidance?

We offer information, advice and guidance about the issues that matter to you. Our online Youth Information Chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

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