Close to 300 staff at the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) have been temporarily laid off amid Covid-19 restrictions.
The Irish Examiner reports that the charity has said the move is “not a cost-saving measure” but the result of continued Level 5 restrictions shuttering its stores.
SVP said shop closures and a total collapse in church gate receipts have decimated its income, with 277 shop staff and further 10 staff who work in specialist and support services affected by the lay-offs.
SVP national president Rose McGowan said introducing the temporary lay-offs was an “extremely difficult decision”.
“While we were in a position to maintain some level of activity and maintain staff on the payroll during the previous restrictions, the current situation means there is no work for most of those employed in our shops,” she said.
We have accommodated all staff as much as possible
“We have accommodated all staff as much as possible, including some redeployment, and gone above and beyond to ensure we apply our Christian and Vincentian ethos to all we employ.
“We will continue to use our resources to provide as much support as we can to the many thousands of families who continue to seek our help.”
The lay-offs came into effect at the end of February and it is hoped by the SVP National Management Council that they will be short-lived.
SVP is continuing to carry out a range of activities, including homeless hostels and home visitations.
Charity shops are required to shut under Level 5 restrictions, despite the sector lobbying the Government for them to be deemed an essential business.