We ran a series of three online events for staff from INOU member organisations in July. These events resulted from a number of key issues that were consistently highlighted across the five online regional events that we ran in May and June.
The first online event focussed on Employment Law. The second event centred on redundancies, lay-offs and job losses with the final online event focussing on the taxation of COVID-19 payments and an update on the COVID-19 payments. We were very pleased to partner with Community Law and Mediation (CLM) for the first two events with Jane O’Sullivan, Managing Solicitor with CLM delivering two excellent presentations. We were also very pleased to partner with Deloitte for the event focussing on the taxation of payments and Paula Ruane, Director of Global Employer Services delivered an excellent presentation. Robbert Lynch, the Manager of the INOU Welfare Rights Section delivered presentations on the welfare rights implications at all three events and these were very positively received.
In addition to the presentations, we included significant time for discussion. At the Employment Law and Redundancy online events, the type of concerns included that:
- Some people have been offered less hours by their employer when they have gone back to work;
- Normally people have six months in which to bring a case against an employer to the Workplace Relations Commission. Given the period of lockdown, this may lead to difficulties in bringing cases;
- Some people are being offered different roles within the organisation;
- Some people are unable to access childcare but are under pressure to return to work;
- Some people are very apprehensive about returning to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those with vulnerable people in their households;
- Some people are extremely worried that their job will be gone and the business closed.
One aspect that Jane O’Sullivan, CLM wished to highlight is that the same employment legislation remains in place now as existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and that workers have the same employment rights as before.
At the taxation of payments online event, a number of aspects were raised including:
- Some employees who were in receipt of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme in the first couple of months may have received tax refunds in addition to their wage as a result of the payroll being reset. It was noted that these tax refunds will have to be repaid to Revenue;
- In some instances, people may be entitled to a tax refund depending on their level of income at the year-end review;
- Whether the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment would cease when students return to college.
Paula Ruane, Deloitte advised that payments to Revenue are likely to be spread over a number of years.
There were very good attendances at the three online events, with 274 people attending with an average of 35 member organisations represented at each event. The feedback from people who attended was exceptionally positive for all three events. We would like to thank everyone who attended. We would also like to thank Jane, Rose Wall and Community Law and Mediation and Paula, Roisin Fitzpatrick and Deloitte for their excellent contributions to these events.