SIPTU says employers in the hospitality sector need to do more to protect seasonal workers.
The union's organiser for the sector was reacting to a letter from a Kerry chef about the financial difficulty that comes with seasonal work during the pandemic.
The chef is due to go back to work today with the reopening of hotels, but if his employer closes next month, as is normal practice, the employee won't be able to claim the pandemic unemployment payment.
This is because the closure is for non-COVID reasons, and therefore, the chef won't be able to reclaim the weekly €350 PUP payment he had been getting, and will only be entitled to claim €203 a week in job seeker's benefit.
Martin O'Rourke of SIPTU says the government has stepped in to help employers protect employees but that some bosses didn't utilise this in their workers' interests.
The Department of Social Protection says it doesn't comment on individual cases, but employees impacted by a seasonal closure of their business unrelated to the pandemic should apply for a normal jobseekers' payment.