If your place of work decides to permanently let people you go due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, there are financial supports available to you. 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) offer some basic legal assistance for free and is currently available to contact via phone on Lo-Call 1890 350 250 or 01-8745690.
I have lost my job, what am I entitled to?
Employe 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 ‘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.
Government Income Supports: Pandemic Unemployment Payment
Employees and self-employed people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are entitled to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week for up to 12 weeks.
To be eligible, you must have:
- Been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March 2020
- Have lost your job or be temporarily laid off from work or asked to stay at home from work due to the pandemic
- Stopped trading as self-employed due to the pandemic
You cannot claim the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Benefit if you are continuing to receive any income from your employment (e.g. if you are working reduced hours or if your employer is topping up your wages or availing of the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme) or if you voluntarily left your employment.
You can apply online for the benefit at mygov.ie (if you already have a Public Services Card). Otherwise, you can download an application form and post it for free to: Free Post to PO BOX 12896, Dublin 1.
Jobseeker’s Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance
If for any reason you are not eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Benefit, 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
Feeling overwhelmed or anxious around the current pandemic?
- Get anonymous support 24/7 with our text message support service
- Connect with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, and help you to move forward feeling better
- Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to begin
- Find out more about our text message support service
This situation is completely new to everyone involved and it is normal to feel worried or anxious about what is going on. Following the Government’s instructions on how to stay safe and help slow the spread of the virus, can help to make you feel more in control of your current situation.
If you feel overwhelmed by the current situation and need someone to talk to, our anonymous, 24 hour text line is always open. You’re worth talking about and we’re here to listen and support you.