Dara Calleary: figures

Almost €1bn in statutory redundancy payments have been received by the thousands of workers who have lost their jobs since the recession took hold in 2008.

Junior minister for labour affairs Dara Calleary said almost €194m was paid out to workers in 2008, a figure which climbed to €336m the following year. More than €400m was paid out in 2010, giving a total of almost €950m paid out in the last three years.

All workers who are made redundant are legally entitled to two weeks' pay for each year of service from their employer, who then gets 60% of that cost back from the government.

However, where the employer has gone bust and cannot even pay the statutory redundancy, the government will pay the full amount to the worker.

In 2008, the government paid out €32m to workers whose employers could not or would not pay them their statutory entitlements. But this soared to €82m last year, indicating the increasing number of companies that are going to the wall without even the funds to pay staff their legal entitlement.

Calleary also noted that while the number of claims for redundancy payment remained high, it had started to drop off last year. In the 10 months to October, 2010, 51,385 claims were made to the department for redundancy payments – down from 66,989 claims made in the same 10-month period last year.