If your employer goes bust and you are made redundant, it may not have enough funds to pay your normal redundancy pay. Instead, you can claim money from the government’s National Insurance Fund, via the Redundancy Payments Office (RPO), a division of the Insolvency Service. The government may also be able to give you more money towards other amounts owed to you, such as unpaid wages, notice pay and holiday pay.
You can make the claim as soon as you are made redundant, but you will need a ‘CN’ (case reference) number from the insolvency practitioner in charge of your employer’s insolvency. No claim can be made without this number.
You must make the claim to the RPO within six months of your dismissal date for redundancy. Otherwise it will be rejected. This is very important.
There is an upper limit on what you can claim, so you may not receive all that you would have done, and you should try to claim any balance from the insolvency practitioner or receiver who is handling your employer's insolvency. If you were being paid statutory employment benefits such as Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay, you can apply to HMRC for payment. HMRC runs a helpline: 0191 225 5221.
The insolvency service has produced a helpful guide: What to do if you’ve been made redundant, explaining how to claim, as well as a more detailed guide, Explaining your redundancy payments, which is also useful.
There is a separate guide with advice for employees claiming redundancy payments through the Insolvency Service after being furloughed by their employer under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The Insolvency Service advises anyone made redundant that it is very important to apply for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (UC) immediately, even if you feel sure you don’t qualify for either benefit. You should keep any letters, or take screenshots of the acceptance/rejection letter that confirms what you are eligible for.
When the RPO calculates your notice pay, they are always obliged to subtract the amount of JSA or UC you were entitled to receive during your notice period, even if you didn’t claim it. You will need to prove that you were rejected for these benefits in order to get your full notice pay from the RPO.
Ordinarily, the government’s Redundancy Payments Helpline (tel: 0330 331 0020 – calls charged at local rates) can help with further information. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Redundancy Payments Helpline may not be available, but you can email the Insolvency Service at: email@example.com.