Employees are only informed of the impending bankruptcy of an employer at the last minute. The employer first tries to turn the tide without the employees’ knowledge. Employees with a permanent contract think they have certainty about the future. Nowadays this can hardly be called a certainty. More and more employees are confronted with deteriorating operating conditions, which puts the employer in dire straits. Dutch companies are taken over by large multinationals or fall prey to other companies. Once this has taken place you can wait for the next step, namely reorganizing and transferring the work to cheaper countries. Impending bankruptcy is also the order of the day. The employer will inform you about this at a later date. He wants to prevent unrest from arising within the staff.
A very large cost item for the employer is the salary of the employees. As soon as the employer can no longer meet these payment obligations, you should start to worry. This indicates financial shortages. Being unable to pay salaries for one month indicates more problems in the future. Will the employer not pay the salary next month or not pay it in full?
Applying for benefits
As soon as the employer has been declared bankrupt, you are entitled to a payment due to inability to pay. This does not only apply in the event of bankruptcy, but also in the event of, for example, a suspension of payments and a debt restructuring scheme. This benefit will temporarily replace the salary in connection with the resulting inability to pay. This is a temporary situation to ensure that the employees involved do not encounter financial problems. Afterwards, a regular unemployment benefit can be applied for.
What do you get from the UWV?
The UWV will still provide you with the salary you are still owed by your employer. However, this goes back a maximum of 13 weeks. You will also be paid any rights you still have outstanding in the form of vacation days or holiday pay. They can pay the overdue pension premium in a maximum of one year. You can also submit the legal costs you incurred to claim your salary to the UWV. In some cases, the UWV also provides other amounts to which you are still entitled. This could include overtime, for example.
What action should you take?
It is important to sound the alarm early. Benefits in connection with inability to pay must be applied for at an early stage. You must submit this within six months, otherwise this option will expire. The UWV advises you to take action as quickly as possible by looking for other work. You must register with the UWV Werkbedrijf as a job seeker.
Forms of inability to pay
There are four different forms of inability to pay where you as an employee can apply for benefits due to inability to pay, namely:
- The judge has granted a suspension of payments and appoints an administrator
- The employer has gone bankrupt and a curator has been appointed
- There is a debt restructuring scheme for natural persons
- The employer can no longer meet its obligations and there is no prospect of recovery. Several creditors still need to be paid and all employees are in the same situation. However, the judge has not yet made a ruling.