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Fixed-Term Worker Awarded Redundancy Payment Plus Compensation

A plumber was engaged on a series of fixed-term contracts for the specific purpose of carrying our refurbishment of the hotels. It was at all times understood that this contract would be terminated when the re-fitting was completed. While the claimant’s employment terminated at the expiry of his fixed term contract, he took a claim against his employer seeking notice, redundancy payment and compensation for breach of the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 by not being paid redundancy. The WRC Adjudicator decided that due to the fact that the employee had two years’ service and there would be fewer employees by the mere fact that his contract had expired, that this fell within the definition of “redundancy” and he was entitled to a redundancy payment. The Adjudicator went on to find that the failure of the employer to pay the employee redundancy payment was due to the fact that he was a fixed-term worker and this was in breach of the 2003 Act and therefore awarded an additional two weeks’ pay to the claimant, as compensation for this breach. The notice claim was not upheld as the employer had furnished the worker with over two weeks’ notice that his contract was due to expire.

Employers should be cautious, in light of this case, when not renewing a fixed-term worker’s contract and he/she has over two years’ service. Consideration should be given as to whether or not the situation falls within the definition of redundancy, including whether it results in a reduction in headcount. While the award in this case was low due to the claimant’s salary level, the award of compensation could be higher in other situations.

See Case

Anne O’Connell
Fitzwilliam Hall
Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2

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