Dáil Éireann - Volume 536 - 10 May, 2001
Written Answers - Job Losses.
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
50. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there is an early warning system within her Department in respect of redundancies or business closures; if so, if businesses must participate within this system; if the system extends to the retail trade; and if she will make a statement on the matter with reference to the recent closure of three electrical shops in Dublin which closed without any notice to staff. [13428/01]
Mr. T. Kitt Mr. T. Kitt
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. T. Kitt): While there is no formal early warning system of redundancies within my Department, there is legislative provision under section 12 of the Protection of Employment Act, 1977, requiring written notification to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment of collective redundan cies at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes place. This requirement extends to the retail trade.
Under Section 9 (1) of that Act, employers who propose to create what are known as collective redundancies must consult the employees' representatives at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes place. Section 6(1) of that Act defines collective redundancy as dismissals for one or more reasons not related to the individual concerned e.g. cessation of trading, rationalisation etc. Section 6(1) also stipulates the minimum number of employees that must be affected in order to qualify as a collective redundancy viz. (a) at least five in an establishment normally employing more than 20 and fewer than 50 employees, (b) at least ten in an establishment normally employing at least 50 but fewer than 100 employees, (c) at least 10% of the number of employees in an establishment normally employing at least 100 but fewer than 300 employees, and (d) at least 30 in an establishment normally employing 300 or more employees.
Where an employer carries on business at more than one location, or establishment as the Act refers to it, as appears to be the case here, section 6(3)(f2>b) of the Act states that such an ‘establishment', including wholesale or retail shops, shall be taken to be a separate location, with account being taken under section 6(3)(f2>c) of employees based at a particular establishment but who also perform some of their duties elsewhere.
In a situation where a place of employment closes without any notice to staff, redress can be obtained through the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts, 1973 to 1991, which is administered by my Department. In the first instance, employees concerned should contact the employment rights information section which will give them the relevant information. The address is Davitt House, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, and the telephone No. is (01) 6313131. These Acts lay down minimum periods of notice which must be given by employers to employees normally expected to work at least eight hours per week and who have at least 13 weeks continuous service with the same employer. The period varies according to length of service, ranging from one weeks minimum notice for employment between 13 weeks and two years, with two weeks minimum notice for employment between two and four years, to a total of eight weeks minimum notice for employment of more than 15 years. Where notice is not given, the Acts do not preclude agreement between employer and employee for payment of wages in lieu of notice.
Disputes about such matters may be referred to the Employment Appeals Tribunal which comes under the remit of my Department. The tribunal may award compensation to an employee whose employer has not given the employee the appropriate statutory notice.
Dáil Éireann 536 Written Answers Job Losses.