Tuesday, 27 June 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
90. Mr. Dennehy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if, in view of the changes in financial values which have taken place since it was set, she will increase the maximum weekly wage of £300 set for the purpose of payment of lump sum payments under the Redundancy Payments Acts, 1967 to 1991. [18383/00]
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. T. Kitt): The ceiling on pay, which applies to the calculation of benefit under the Redundancy Payments Acts, was first introduced in 1974 by means of the Redundancy Payments (Weekly Payments and Lump Sum) Order, 1974 (SI No. 82 of 1974). This set the ceiling at £2,500 per annum. The Redundancy Payments Act, 1979, raised this ceiling to £5,000 per annum and provided for its variation by regulation. When so doing, account had to be taken of average earnings in the transportable goods industries as recorded by the Central Statistics Office.
The Deputy will be aware that the relationship between the ceiling and the average earnings of this class of worker was established because, historically, this group has been the highest paid on average in industry. However, while the statutes do not impose a legal obligation on me to change the benefit ceiling, there is clearly an expectation that the ceiling would be raised in relation to average earnings. The benefit ceiling was last raised in May 1994 from £13,000 per annum, that is, £250 per week, to its current level of £15,600 per annum, that is, £300 per week.
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