My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.
I can confirm that my Department received a lump sum claim for the individual concerned as well as claims for other former employees of the company concerned on 5 August 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. These applications are awaiting processing. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees, such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from July 2009.
Under the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967-2007, the objective is to ensure that statutory redundancy payments, due to eligible employees on being made redundant, are made in accordance with the legislative provisions. The legislation places the onus, in the first instance, on the employer to discharge the obligation to pay redundancy entitlement to employees. On so doing, the employer is entitled, by virtue of the pay related social contributions made to the State, to recover 60% of the lump sum redundancy payments paid out to employees.
In instances such as this, where the employer does not formally wind the company up but goes into informal insolvency and is unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements, the Department seeks from the employer evidence of inability to pay the entitlements to the employees. This involves requesting a statement from the company's Accountant or Solicitor attesting to the inadequacy of assets to make the redundancy payments and, the latest set of financial accounts for the company. The employer is also asked to admit liability for the 40% liability attaching to the company arising from the redundancy payments. If this information is provided to the Department, the employees are paid their redundancy entitlement from the Social Insurance Fund. Upon payment, the Department pursues the company for the 40% share which the company would ordinarily have been expected to pay to the employees.
If supporting information required from the employer is not provided to my Department the employee will be advised by my Department to take a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) against the employer to seek a determination establishing the employee's right and entitlement to redundancy. Once such a determination is available, the Department is then in a position to make the payment to the employee concerned. Should the outstanding documentation be provided by the employer during the period while the case is pending a hearing before the EAT, this would allow the claim to be processed by my Department in the usual way.