Written Answers - Redundancy Payments.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 698 No. 4

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  93.  Deputy Noel J. Coonan  Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   when an application for redundancy will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47688/09]

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Dara Calleary): Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  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 statutory lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 10 September, 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. The claim is awaiting processing.

The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing rebate applications submitted by post from March 2009 and those filed online from April 2009, so that the waiting time is approximately 8 to 9 months depending on the manner of filing the application. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from June 2009. Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department since late 2008 it has proved impossible to maintain the customer service targets that previously obtained. The scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims with a cumulative figure for the first eleven months of 2009 is 73,024. This figure exceeds the claims lodged for the full year 2008 (40,607) and 2008 was, of itself, an exceptional year as compared with earlier years when claims received were of the order of 25,000.

Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more acceptable turnaround processing times for redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken include:

[857]the reassignment of 26.7 additional staff (full time equivalents) from other areas of the Department to the Redundancy Payments area since early 2009 with ongoing review of trends and demands. The current number of staff serving in the Redundancy Payments Section in terms of full time equivalents is 52.5;

the prioritisation of the Department’s overtime budget towards staff in the Redundancy Payments Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

the establishment of a special call handling facility to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses who are naturally concerned about their payments, using the facilities and cooperation of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). This centre has received an average of 12,500 calls per month this year with an estimated 60% relating to redundancy payments;

The provision of better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department’s website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against outstanding tax liabilities with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Tánaiste and I continue to monitor closely the impact of these changes against the continuing influx of redundancy claims and will consider further measures to deal with the situation should current measures prove to be inadequate.

  94.  Deputy Noel J. Coonan  Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan   asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   when an application for redundancy will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47689/09]

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Dara Calleary): Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  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 statutory lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 4 September, 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. I understand that a query was raised on this claim which has very recently been resolved. In this instance it will be possible to have the claim processed and paid over the next few weeks.


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