Written answers

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Department of Social Protection

Redundancy Payments

8:00 pm

Photo of Olwyn EnrightOlwyn Enright (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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Question 330: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the criteria relating to a person (details supplied) whose former employer is unable to pay redundancy; the scheme and entitlements available to this person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3369/11]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Minister, Department of Defence; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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On 1 January 2011, the Department assumed responsibility for making redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund. There are two types of redundancy payment made from the fund i.e. 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 wish to advise the Deputy that there is no current record of a valid redundancy claim on the Redundancy Payments System in respect of the individual in question. There is a record of a redundancy payment in respect of the individual concerned dating from 2001. It is normal practice not to enter incomplete claims on the system as these claims cannot be processed until the necessary documentation is submitted. Forms are returned in order for missing details and/or supporting documentation to be submitted. Submission of correctly completed redundancy claim forms (RP50's) with all of the required documentation greatly facilitates the processing.

The onus is on the employer in the first instance, to pay eligible employees their redundancy entitlements. The employer is then entitled, by virtue of contributions to the Social Insurance Fund, to recover 60% of the amount paid to the employee. However, i n circumstances where the employer is unable to pay a redundancy entitlement, a claim may be lodged by the employee. It is necessary to provide proof of the employer's inability to pay the redundancy entitlement. Such proof could consist of a statement from the company's accountant or solicitor attesting to the inadequacy of assets to make the redundancy payment and/or the latest set of financial accounts for the company. The employer is also asked to admit liability for the 40% portion attaching to the company arising from the redundancy payment.

If the necessary information is provided, the employee is paid the appropriate redundancy entitlement from the Social Insurance Fund. Upon payment, the Department pursues the company for the 40% share that the company would ordinarily have been expected to pay to the employee.

If the necessary supporting documentation is not provided, the employee is advised 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. If a favourable determination is made, the Department is then in a position to make the payment to the employee concerned. Should the outstanding documentation be provided by the employer while the case is pending a hearing before the EAT, this would allow the claim to be processed in the usual way.

Photo of Noel CoonanNoel Coonan (Tipperary North, Fine Gael)
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Question 331: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in north Tipperary and nationally waiting on redundancy payments from his Department; the length of time these persons have been waiting; when these payments will be awarded; the number of persons waiting nationally; the steps being taken to speed up the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3722/11]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Minister, Department of Defence; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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On 1 January 2011, my Department assumed responsibility from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation for making redundancy payments from the Social Insurance Fund. The practical arrangements that are needed to give effect to the transfer of the redundancy service are currently underway. The two Departments are working closely together during this transitional period to ensure that there is no deterioration in the level of service for individuals and businesses waiting on redundancy entitlements as a result of the transfer.

Statistical information on redundancy claims is not maintained in respect of North Tipperary. At the end of 2010, provisional figures indicate that nationally there were 25,167 claims waiting to be processed which is a reduction of some 16,000 on the corresponding figure for the end of 2009. Claims in general dating from June 2010 are currently being processed so that the waiting time is now around 6 months. In some instances, where the necessary supporting documentation is not provided, or where queries arise, processing of claims can be further delayed until the required documentation is provided and/or outstanding queries are resolved.

In 2009, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation undertook a number of measures to reduce the backlog of claims. These included the almost doubling of the number of staff working on redundancy claims; increasing the amount of overtime allocated to redundancy claims; the establishment of a special call handling facility by the National Employment Rights Authority; providing better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website and improving arrangements with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers.

In 2011, my Department will undertake a review of the current redundancy claims processing procedures as part of the development of a new computer system which will be integrated into my Department's service delivery modernisation programme. The prime focus of this initiative will be to streamline the redundancy claim process so as to improve claim processing times.

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