Heretofore, the position was governed by a case called John Lawe-v-Irish County Meats Limited, which was a Circuit Court decision of Mr. Justice White. It allowed lay-off without wages in limited circumstances, provided there was a contractual clause in the employee’s contract to that effect.
The position has now been changed by a decision of the High Court made on the 1st July 2013. In this case the employee in question had been laid off for sixteen weeks and he had brought a claim under the Payment of Wages Act, and in particular under Sections 11 and 12 of the Redundancy Payments Act, seeking payment of those wages. The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled against him, ruling in favour of the employer. That decision was appealed to the Circuit Court and then subsequently to the High Court, where the matter was determined on the 1st July 2013. The High Court quashed the decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal and awarded the employee his pay for the sixteen weeks he was laid off.
This decision runs contrary to previous case law, and may be appealed. However, it should be noted that the current law, as of the 1st July 2013, is that lay-offs must be paid.