Unfortunately, redundancy is an inevitable aspect of a company entering into an insolvency process. This article aims to clarify the four main claims employees can make against the company, most if not all will be paid by a government department called the Redundancy Payments Service (“RPS”)
The claim to the RPS is completed online and the insolvency practitioner acting in relation to the company will provide details on how to apply, what information the employees will require, and a case reference number. In a recent change to the process, this code cannot be obtained by the insolvency practitioner until after the company enters into the insolvency process and this may be up to three weeks after being made redundant.
All claims paid by the RPS are subject to a weekly limit which changes every 6 April. The current limit which runs until 5 April 2024 is £643.00.
Wages – Arrears of Pay
An employee can claim up to 8 weeks arrears of pay, based on their weekly salary rate, subject to the weekly limit referred to above. If an employee is owed more than 8 weeks, the best 8 weeks can be chosen. Tax and national insurance will be deducted before the payment is made.
An employee can claim for holiday pay taken but not paid and accrued holiday which has not been taken. For the purposes of these calculations, an employee’s holiday entitlement (including bank holidays) is taken to have accrued evenly since the start of the holiday year.
For example if an employee who had 20 days holiday plus bank holidays was made redundant after three months of their holiday year, they would have accrued a quarter of the 28 days (i.e. 7). If the employee had taken less days than this (including bank holidays) they would be able to make a claim for the remainder. Should the employee have taken more, it is unlikely they will be made to repay the difference.
Holiday pay claims can be for a maximum of 6 weeks, again capped at the weekly limit and tax and national insurance is deducted.
An employee can claim for redundancy if they have worked for the Company for more than 2 years. The amount that can be claimed depends on the employee’s length of service and age.
- Each complete year aged 18 – 22 equals half a week’s wage per year.
- Each complete year aged 22 – 41 equals 1 week’s wage per year.
- Each complete year aged over 41 equals 1.5 week’s wage per year.
Again the employee’s wage is capped at the weekly limit but here unlike wages and holiday pay, this is paid tax-free.
Pay in Lieu of Notice.
If a company which was continuing to trade were to make certain employees redundant, the company would be required by law to give the relevant employees notice of their redundancy and pay the employee their weekly wage during this period. It is likely that in an insolvency process this notice will not be given and therefore the employee can claim for the wages they would have received.
The statutory notice period is one week per years’ service (from a minimum service of 1 month) up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
Employees should note that this claim is a compensation claim and is based on what happens during the employee’s notice period. At the end of the relevant period, the employee will be invited by the RPS to complete a further online form detailing their earnings (or more importantly their potential earnings) in the period. Therefore, if the employee starts a new job during their notice period, this income will reduce their claim. Furthermore, all employees who are made redundant are likely to be entitled to benefits including job seekers allowance. The RPS will deduct these benefits from this claim even if they are not claimed so our advice to any employee in this situation is to claim as soon as possible.
It is important to note that this article refers to the claim an employee can make against the RPS. This is the most likely method for being paid and certainly the quickest. Where an employee is paid more than the weekly limit or has extra entitlements above the statutory limits referred to above in their contract, they will have surplus claims which can still be made against the company in liquidation. However, here, payment is dependent upon realisations in the liquidation and will therefore be uncertain.
The published guidance from RPS is they aim to pay the claims within six weeks so if this delay will result in financial pressure for you our advice is to contact your creditors and explain you have been made redundant.
If any employee who has been made redundant has any queries regarding the above they should contact PBC Business Recovery & Insolvency on 01604 212150 (Northampton), 01908 488653 (Milton Keynes) or email to email@example.com. Alternatively, visit www.pbcbusinessrecovery.co.uk for further information.