How liquidation affects employee redundancy pay

How liquidation affects employee redundancy payLiquidation can have a significant impact on employee redundancy pay, as it often involves the sale or closure of a company’s operations.

In such cases, employees may be eligible for redundancy pay, which is a financial compensation provided to workers who have lost their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control, such as the closure or restructuring of a company.

The amount of redundancy pay an employee is entitled to depends on their length of service, age, and salary.During the liquidation process, the company’s assets are sold off in order to pay off its debts and obligations.

Any remaining funds may be used to pay employee redundancy pay. However, if the company does not have sufficient funds to cover redundancy pay, it may be necessary for employees to make a claim through the government’s redundancy payments scheme.

It is important for employees to be aware of their rights and entitlements during the liquidation process, as it can be a stressful and uncertain time. 

If your company seems to be going down this path, it is crucial that you treat your employees the right way and understand exactly what it is you need to do, so that you can do right by them.

Who pays staff redundancy when a business is insolvent?

When a business becomes insolvent, it means that it is unable to pay its debts as they become due and is therefore unable to meet its financial obligations. In such cases, the business may be forced to close or restructure in order to try to improve its financial position. When this happens, staff redundancy may be necessary, which can have a significant impact on the employees of the company.

In the event of staff redundancy when a business is insolvent, it is generally the responsibility of the business to pay the redundancy entitlements of its employees. However, if the business does not have sufficient funds to cover the redundancy pay, it may be necessary for employees to make a claim through the government’s redundancy payments scheme. This scheme provides financial support to workers who have lost their jobs due to circumstances beyond their control, such as the closure or restructuring of a company.

It is important for employees to be aware of their rights and entitlements during the insolvency process, as it can be a stressful and uncertain time. It is recommended that employees seek legal advice or speak with a union representative for guidance on their redundancy pay entitlements and the claims process.

Redundancy Claims

Any and all employees that are financially affected by a company entering liquidation are legally entitled to submit a claim for the following:

  • Payment in lieu of any notice period
  • Pro-rata holiday pay
  • Redundancy pay
  • Any wages that have previously been unpaid

The Redundancy Payment Service deals with all compensation for claims such as these, meaning liability does not fall directly upon the business. This points towards the fact that employees are far more likely to successfully claim back funds this way, than if they were to pursue a claim through unfair dismissal.

For the employees who have been working at the company for a period of at least two years, they will be entitled to a redundancy pay-out. The grand total of their pay-out is calculated by the number of years they’ve spent working for the company. The longer they have worked for the business, the larger the pay-out they receive will be.

Read more: Can’t afford to pay redundancy pay

The National Insurance Fund (NIF)

The National Insurance Fund covers multiple payments including holiday pay, owed wages and redundancy that hasn’t been recouped from the selling of company assets. It’s the responsibility of the preferential creditors to request a claim form from the Insolvency Practitioner, which will then allow them to claim via the NIF for any outstanding payments.

You can place a claim on the National Insurance Fund via the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • You were made redundant during the initial 2 weeks of administration
  • You have lost your job on company liquidation
  • You, as a preferential creditor (member of staff) were retained during the initial administration period, but have since been unable to claim all cash owed to you from the sale of business assets.
  • You were made redundant immediately on administration/ on liquidation
  • If you were not retained by the administrators within the first 2 weeks of the process, and those made redundant on the company’s liquidation turn into ‘ordinary creditors’

Unfortunately, this puts past employees at the bottom of the list when receiving any holiday pay or unpaid wages but, as previously discussed, the employees are entitled to make a claim through the Redundancy Payments Service.

You should be aware of the eligibility criteria surrounding redundancy claims. The employees must have worked at the company in question for an uninterrupted two years or more. Following on from this, the amount of redundancy pay is then worked out due to their age and length of service at the business.

Almost all other monies, as well as those that were owed more than four months prior to the beginning of the administration process, your employees will be treated as ordinary creditors. This means they will have to claim using the National Insurance Fund, as stated above.

The single exception to this is when statutory sick pay is owed. In a situation such as this, these claims would be made through the Department of Work and Pensions, with statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay being claimed via HMRC.

Unfair dismissal claims

There are cases that employees will want to make an unfair dismissal claim however, such as if the liquidation process has resulted in significant loss for them personally, or was carried out without statutory due notice being given. In cases such as these it is likely that they will have the option of placing an unfair dismissal claim against the company they worked for. Of course, this isn’t the outcome you’d want, but if you have been treated unfairly, you’re well within your rights to fight fire with fire.

Redundancy for directors

Redundancy for directors in liquidation refers to the process of laying off directors or executives of a company that is going through the process of liquidation. Liquidation is the process of selling off a company’s assets in order to pay off its debts and obligations. It is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. In the case of redundancy for directors in liquidation, the company may have to let go of some of its top executives in order to cut costs and improve its financial position.

This can be a difficult and emotional process for both the directors and the company, as it often involves the loss of long-term employees who have made significant contributions to the company. However, it may be necessary in order to ensure the company’s survival and protect the interests of its creditors and stakeholders.

How the amount you receive is worked out

Your claim will be assessed to confirm that you are eligible for redundancy funds. Then an amount will be calculated based on the length of your service with the company, your age and your current rate of pay.

It is worth noting your rate of gross weekly wages at the time of redundancy is capped at £479 a week and the service length of your employment is capped at 20 years.

In summary

There are a few key points to take away from this article, so here’s a brief summary of what you need to know:

At the time a liquidator is appointed with the task of winding up a company, all employees of that business are dismissed. Employees may then choose to claim for any money they have not received, but are entitled to. This will include any and all wage payments that remain due, pro-rata holiday pay, and a redundancy pay package. Though, you should be aware that payment of these particular claims is handled by the Redundancy Payment Service, and therefore is not the responsibility of the company or the directors within it.

It’s important to remember that the one instance in which the company itself may be held liable for these payments is if an employee is deemed to have personally faced a significant financial loss due to its closure. In this case that individual may choose to pursue an unfair dismissal claim.

Any money awarded from the success of one of these claims will be classed as unsecured debt and held against the company. Although, due to the superior ranking the creditors of the company will hold, it remains doubtful that the employee will actually see the full amount, or indeed any of this sum. If the employee has been wronged during the winding up process, they should still seek this out as a possibility though.

How we can help

 If you are under the understanding that your company is in fact insolvent, or soon could be, knowing which route to go down is the ticket to getting the best possible outcome.

So, don’t allow your concerns about where a liquidation could leave your employees trouble you any longer. Business Insolvency Helpline can give you the right advice and a free consultation in which a member of our expert team will discuss all available options with you. Call us today and allow your business to wrap things up the right way, that’s fair to all involved.

Steve Jones Profile
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert at Business Insolvency Helpline

With over three decades of experience in the business and turnaround sector, Steve Jones is one of the founders of Business Insolvency Helpline. With specialist knowledge of Insolvency, Liquidations, Administration, Pre-packs, CVA, MVL, Restructuring Advice and Company investment.