When a company goes into administration or liquidation the directors of the business are in effect made redundant. Their powers and duties as directors cease. So, it isn’t surprising to know that directors are in fact entitled to redundancy payments if they were employed by the company. Given the company is insolvent then it cannot afford to make the payments, so instead the bill is picked up by the Redundancy Payments Office (RPO). This fact can help alleviate some directors concerns about liquidation. In any liquidation the employees are able to claim for arrears of Wages, accrued Holiday Pay and Pay in Lieu of Notice, and if they have been working for the same employer for two consecutive years are also entitled to receive a statutory Redundancy Payment. The same applies to directors. There are a number of companies out there claiming they can get large payments for directors but there are a number of caveats.
What are the eligibility criteria?
You must have been employed by the company and received a wage commensurate with your work. This is not often the case as directors usually pay themselves with dividends and take a minimum wage for tax reasons. This was actually one of the reasons why many didn’t benefit from furlough payments during the pandemic as they were not actually employees.
You must have proof you were employed. Again just being paid via PAYE may not be enough. You will need to show that you had a contract and that terms were set (these can be implied and not necessarily detailed in an employment contract) example terms might be holidays taken, sick leave, paternity.maternity payments, car allowances, pension provision etc. ie all the usual things that an employee has.
An employee may not work less than minimum wage. This is important as if you are putting in long hours and not being paid much then it actually means you are not an employee! As such any claim will not be accepted. Small monthly payments will just be seen as extracting money from the company as an office holder not an employee.
How do I apply?
Once the company has gone into liquidation or administration then there is an application form that the directors can fill in. It doesn’t take long and there really isn’t any need to employ a third party to do the claim for you. Some companies are making some misleading claims about average payouts etc.
How much am I likely to get paid?
You will receive redundancy and loss of pay if you are entitled to it. However, in most cases that we have dealt with the directors owe the company money and this negates any payout that is likely to be owed. In addition, the Redundancy Payments Office (RPO) is getting very strict about claims, so a director that has taken out substantial dividends is unlikely to be regarded as an employee.