Thursday, 1 April 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Deputy knows full well that the legal entitlement to redundancy in Ireland is two weeks per year of service. That is statutory redundancy. If the House or the Government decides to increase that to three or four weeks, so be it. That cannot be applied retrospectively, however. The legal entitlement is two weeks per year of service. Sometimes people have collective agreements that entitle them to more in certain circumstances but, as is almost always the case - if not always the case - such agreements for additional redundancy payments apply in a structured redundancy scheme, not in the event of a liquidation or an insolvency. That is an important point that people have chosen not to recognise in this instance.
The Deputy mentioned how the law works. Debenhams was a big corporation and it failed. The owners of the company - the shareholders - lost all their money. In insolvency, the first people to be wiped out are the owners, the shareholders in a company. Where there is money left over, there are creditors to be paid. Those highest up on the list of creditors are often the public, for example, through the Revenue Commissioners and local authorities, and also workers in the context of unpaid wages and statutory redundancy considerations. Collective agreements for additional redundancy occur and apply when a voluntary redundancy scheme or an agreed redundancy scheme is happening. They do not apply in the event of a liquidation.