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Compensation for unfair dismissal

Section 7 of the Unfair Dismissal Acts, 1977-2015, as amended deals with the remedies for unfair dismissal. Section 7 (3) provides for payment of such compensation in respect of loss not exceeding 104 weeks or two years’ remuneration where a financial loss is attributed to the dismissal.

Compensation is the most common award.

Remuneration can include benefits in addition to pay such as share options, health insurance payments, pension contributions, bonuses or commissions and any other benefit provided to the employee.

Compensation will only be paid on the basis of the actual loss incurred. If an employee is employed in an equivalent job 6 months after a dismissal the actual loss incurred would be 6 months’ salary.

Future loss has also been taken into account by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Compensation under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015

The Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015 set out 9 specific grounds which employers are forbidden to use as the basis for making employment decisions such as advertising positions, recruitment, promotion, pay or access to training.

The following remedies are available to employees that succeed in making out a complaint before the Workplace Relations Commission:

Equal Pay

The employer is ordered to pay the complainant equal remuneration. The order may include a direction to pay arrears of remuneration up to 3 years prior to the date of the claim. In gender discrimination cases the Circuit Court can make an order directing the employer to pay arrears of remuneration up to 6 years prior to the date of the claim.

Discrimination

An order for compensation for the effects of discrimination which must have taken place not earlier than 6 years from the date the claim was initiated.

Discrimination

An order directing the employer to afford the complainant equal treatment in whatever respect is required.

Discrimination

An order directing a person or specific persons to take a specific course of action.

Dismissal

An order to reinstate the complainant to the position with or without compensation.

 

The maximum compensation amounts awarded by the Workplace Relations Commission or Labour Court under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015 are generally limited to 104 weeks’ remuneration or €40,000 whichever is the greater.

In circumstances where the complainant was not employed at the time of the complaint (a job applicant typically) the maximum compensation payable is €13,000.

One exception to the maximum compensation limits exists in cases of discrimination on the ground of gender. In cases of discrimination on the ground of gender the complainant may bring a claim in the Circuit Court which has unlimited jurisdiction to award compensation.

National Minimum Wage

From 1 January 2019 to 3 March 2019:

Age and circumstances

NMW from 1 January 2019

NMW from 1 January 2018

NMW from 1 January 2017

NMW from 1 January 2016

NMW from 2011-2015

Experienced Adult Employees

  €9.80

€9.55

€9.25

€9.15

€8.65

Employees aged under 18

  €6.86 (70 per cent)

€6.69

€6.48

€6.41

 

€6.06

 

Employees aged over 18 in first year of first employed position

  €7.84 (80 per cent)

€7.64

€7.40

€7.32

€6.92

Employees aged over 18 in second year of first employed position

  €8.82 (90 per cent)

€8.60

€8.33

€8.24

€7.79

 

From 4 March 2019 - job entrant rules changed:

Age and Circumstances

NMW From 1 Feb 2020

NMW From 4 March 2019

Experienced Adult Employees

€10.10

€9.80

Employees aged under 18

€7.07 (70%)

€6.86 (70%)

Employees aged 18

€8.08 (80%)

€7.84 (80%)

Employees aged 19

€9.09 (90%)

€8.82 (90%)

 

For the purposes of the national minimum wage if the employee receives food (known as board) and/or accommodation (known as lodgings) from the employer, the following amounts are included in the minimum wage calculation:

Board/Food

From 1 February 2020

From 1 January 2019

Calculated at hourly rate

  €0.90 per hour worked

€0.87 per hour worked

 

 

Accommodation/Lodgings

From 1 February 2020

From 1 January 2019

Daily rate

 €3.42

€3.32

Weekly rate

 €23.86

€23.15

 

 
Maternity Benefit

Maternity benefit is paid to women while they are on  maternity leave  from work. Maternity benefit is only available to applicants that have paid the required social insurance (PRSI) payments.

Statutory maternity benefit is paid on a weekly basis.

Maternity Benefit

From 13 March 2017

From 26 March 2018

From 25 March 2019

Maximum duration

Standard payment

€235.00

€240.00

  €245.00

26 weeks beginning no earlier than 16 weeks before due date and no later than 2 weeks before due date

 
 
Paternity Benefit

Paternity benefit is paid to men while they are on paternity leave from work. Paternity benefit is only available to applicants that have paid the required social insurance (PRSI) payments.

Statutory paternity benefit is paid on a weekly basis.

Paternity Benefit

From 13 March 2017

From 26 March 2018

From 25 March 2019

Maximum duration

Standard payment

€235.00

€240.00

  €245.00

2 weeks to be taken consecutively at any time within 6 months of the birth or adoption of a child

 

 
Adoptive Benefit

Adoptive benefit is a payment made to adopting mothers or single males who adopt a child. Adoptive benefit is only available to applicants that have paid the required social insurance (PRSI) payments. Adoptive benefit is paid from the date the child is placed with the adopting parent.

Statutory adoptive benefit is paid on a weekly basis.

Adoptive Benefit

From 13 March 2017

From 26 March 2018

From 25 March 2019

Maximum duration

Standard payment

€235.00

€240.00

  €245.00

24 weeks from the date of placement of the child with the adopting parent

 
 
Parent's Benefit

The government published the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 in October 2019. Parent’s leave will initially be for a two-week period per parent and may be taken within 52 weeks of the birth of the child, or in the case of adoption, the date of placement of the child. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will make the accompanying state benefit payment of €245 per week. The new two-week leave and benefit is in addition to existing maternity, paternity and adoptive entitlements.

Parent's Benefit

From 1 November 2019 Maximum duration
Standard payment €245.00

2 weeks to be taken consecutively at any time within 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child

Illness Benefit

Illness benefit is a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Employees who are unavailable for work due to illness may apply for the payment. The employee must be aged under 66 and satisfy the PRSI payment conditions.

Illness benefit is not linked to the employer's policy on pay for sick leave which is a matter for each employer to address as their circumstances allow.

Personal Rate from 25 March 2019

Qualified Adult Rate from 25 March 2019 

€203

€134.70

 

Illness Benefit is paid for a maximum of:

  • 2 years (624 payment days) where the employee has made at least 260 weeks of reckonable social insurance contributions since first starting work or
  • 1 year (312 payment days) if the employee has made between 104 and 259 weeks of reckonable social insurance contributions since first starting work

An adult dependant is typically a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant. A cohabitant is one of two adults (whether of the same or opposite sex) who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not close relatives.

COVID-19 Update to Illness Benefit

The government has updated the qualifying criteria for Illness Benefit and increased the amount from €203 to €350 per week to ensure that employees who need to self-isolate do not stay in work for financial reasons.

Illness Benefit will be payable from day one of the employee’s absence from work and there will be no minimum number of PRSI payments required to qualify though medical certification will be required.

This benefit is only available to employees that require treatment either at home or in hospital. 

Redundancy payments

Statutory redundancy payments are lump sum payments based on the gross pay and years of service of the employee.

A qualified employee is entitled to receive a lump sum payment calculated by reference to the employee’s period of employment:

  • two weeks' pay for every year of service over the age of 16 and
  • one week's further pay

Statutory redundancy payments are subject to a maximum earnings limit of €600 per week or €31,200 per year.

The pay of the employee refers to the current normal weekly gross pay before tax and PRSI deductions but including overtime payments or any other benefits in kind.

The statutory redundancy payment is a tax-free lump sum payment.