Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (275)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

275. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the minimum statutory obligations of companies when making employees redundant; if it is possible for contractual arrangements to provide for terms which are more favourable to employees than the minimum statutory obligations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4969/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Under the Protection of Employment Act 1977, companies proposing collective redundancies must enter into consultation with the employee representatives at least 30 days before anyone receives notice of redundancy. They must also notify the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation of the proposed redundancies at least 30 days before any employee receives notice of redundancy. The consultation with the employee representatives and the notification period for the Minister can run concurrently.

In addition, companies who find themselves in this position are obliged to provide certain information to employee representatives regarding the proposed collective redundancy.

As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for the Redundancy Payments Acts is now within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD who has supplied the following details in respect of redundancy entitlements. The purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate workers, under the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 to 2013, for the loss of their jobs by reason of redundancy. In order to qualify for a statutory redundancy payment, an employee must have at least two years continuous service; be in employment which is insurable under the Social Welfare Acts; be over the age of 16 and; have been made redundant as a result of a genuine redundancy situation meaning that the job no longer exists and he/she is not replaced.

Statutory redundancy pay is calculated at 2 weeks’ pay per year of service plus a bonus week, subject to a cap of €600 per week.

It is the responsibility of the employer to pay statutory redundancy to all eligible employees. Where an employer can prove to the satisfaction of the Department of Social Protection that it is unable to pay the statutory redundancy to its eligible employees that Department will make lump sum payments directly to those employees. That will raise a debt against the employer which the Department will seek to recover.

Any arrangement outside the Statutory Redundancy is a matter for negotiation and agreement between the parties; oftentimes assisted by the industrial relations institutions of the State, viz, the Labour Relations Commission or the Labour Court.

I would encourage parties who are in dispute with regard to redundancy terms, and where it is not possible to resolve the matter locally, to avail fully of the services of these institutions.