The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association says that businesses are waiting a 'punishing' eight months for redundancy rebates, a far cry from the normal four to six weeks waiting period.

ISME has criticised the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the excessive delays.

'By delaying these payments, the Government is exacerbating the problem, in that delays in redundancy rebates are actually leading to further redundancies,' commented ISME's CEO Mark Fielding.

Under the Redundancy Payments Acts, employers may reclaim 60% of the redundancy paid to employees from the Social Insurance Fund, which is directly funding by employers' PRSI contributions.