Thursday, 3 June 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
36. Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when a person (details supplied) in County Limerick will receive their redundancy lump sum payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23844/10]
Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Deputy Dara Calleary): My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. 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 lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 23 April, 2010. This claim awaits processing. In respect of redundancy lump sum payments paid directly to employees, such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from September/October 2009.
The impact on business of the severe economic circumstances currently pertaining has resulted in an unprecedented increase in the level of Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department. This has impacted significantly on the capacity to maintain the customer service targets that previously obtained. On the Redundancy side the scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims in 2009 amounted to 77,001 which represents a threefold increase over the level of claims lodged in 2007 and earlier years. In 2007, 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 in the Department in 2009 to alleviate the pressures on the Payments area include:
Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against existing outstanding tax liabilities which those employers owe to the Revenue Commissioners.
The backlog and waiting times remain at unacceptable levels. However, improvements are evident. I should point out that my Department has, in 2009, processed 50,664 claims, up 70% on 2008. During the period 1 January 2010 to 30 April, 2010, 23,593 claims were received and 27,592 were processed. In the year to date, inroads have been made on the backlog of claims on hand, which reduced from 41,168 at the end of January to 36,333 at the end of April 2010.
Responsibility for the payment functions arising under the Redundancy and Insolvency payment schemes is due to be transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1 January 2011. In transferring the functions between Departments, it is the intention that this will operate seamlessly and without any adverse impact on the service levels being experienced by individuals or the business community awaiting payment of redundancy claims.
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