The Employment Relations Authority has refused to accept the effects of Covid-19 on an employer’s business as an excuse for failing to comply with a settlement agreement.

The employer and employee entered into the settlement agreement for $9,000 in order to resolve an employment dispute. It was agreed by the parties the sum could be paid by instalments.

The employer paid the initial January instalment but failed to pay those for February or March. The employer cited health concerns and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on his business as reasons for being unable to pay.

Regardless, the Authority determined the settlement had been breached, although not deliberately. The employer was ordered to pay the remaining instalments to the employee within 14 days. Additionally, costs were awarded against the employer.

Despite the lockdown and further measures implemented by the Government during the lockdown, it is important to remember neither employment law nor obligations under existing agreements have been suspended.

If you have any concerns about the effect of Covid on your employment or any existing agreements you have entered into, it pays to consult a professional in the area to understand your rights and obligations.

Alan Knowsley
Employment Lawyer