Dáil debates

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Employment Support Services

10:20 pm

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I had meant to address the redundancy part in the opening statement. I will deal with some of the Deputy's questions. Those who are assisted by this service will receive letters between now and December explaining the pathway for them and how they can engage with Intreo offices in future. The service will be reviewed. The Deputy asked if the contract could be secured by another party. I am sure that option is open. I will also raise that with the Department. Generally, these contracts are agreed for a year at a time and they would normally be up for renewal during the months of August and September. There might be an opportunity to do that. I can guarantee that a service will be provided to these people. They certainly will not be left without a service.

Regarding the number of people employed, I think the Deputy mentioned seven or nine. There were 7.4 whole-time equivalent job coaches and 9.5 whole-time equivalent staff. It might be possible for those staff to re-engage with another service provider in the area. As he knows, there are three covering Dublin.

Regarding redundancy, I want to be clear that there is no reason for them to go to the Labour Court. Statutory redundancy is available to anyone in this country without needing to go anywhere near the Labour Court. In this case it is the employer's responsibility by law to pay statutory redundancy to eligible employees. An eligible employee is entitled to two weeks' remuneration for every year of service plus a bonus week. Normal weekly remuneration is subject to a ceiling of €600 per week. If an employer cannot pay statutory redundancy to eligible employees due to financial difficulties or insolvency, the State will always ensure that employees receive their statutory entitlements by making the statutory redundancy payments on behalf of the employer from the Social Insurance Fund.

There is no need to involve the Labour Court whatsoever. That is set out in law and is always paid out. In such situations a debt is raised against the employer. The Department of Social Protection applies a flexible and discretionary approach to the recovery of the debt because some employers cannot pay this due to insufficient funds. Generally, the Social Insurance Fund pays it out and the employer, in most cases a business, can be pursued. The situation would probably be a bit different here but the Department can pursue the money at a later stage. The former employees will not be left waiting for their money in those situations.


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