On the 24th of July 2018 the Dutch District Court Limburg, location Roermond, has declared Brabant Alucast The Netherlands Site Heiden B.V. (“Alucast”) bankrupt (in Dutch: “in staat van faillissement”). The bankruptcy was preceded by a preliminary suspension of payment procedure (‘voorlopige surseance van betaling”) which was granted on the 20th July 2018.
The District Court has appointed Mr R.J.C. (Ralph) Geelen of Boels Zanders Advocaten as bankruptcy trustee.
What is a ‘bankruptcy’?
A ‘bankruptcy’ is a legal procedure that can be pronounced by the district court if a company is unable to meet its payment obligations. The district court can declare a state of bankruptcy at the request of two or more creditors or at the request of the debtor itself. Alucast was declared bankrupt at its own request. The district court appoints a bankruptcy trustee who has the task, among other things, with converting the bankrupt company’s entire total assets into cash and distributing the proceeds thereof among the creditors. The bankruptcy trustee will also investigate the causes of the bankruptcy and the conduct of the management in the period leading up to the state of bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy, the company is controlled by the bankruptcy trustee; no longer by the company’s management.
Will I lose my job during the bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy trustee can terminate your employment contract. In order to do so, the bankruptcy trustee is required to obtain authorization from the supervisory judge. If need be, the dismissal of employees will in principle commence relatively soon after the state of bankruptcy is declared, unless it is necessary for the employment to last longer. The notice period during a bankruptcy is limited to a period of no more than six weeks.
Will I still receive my salary?
You will still receive your salary, subject to the following. The Employee Insurance Agency (“UWV”), a Dutch government institution, uses a wage guarantee scheme (in Dutch: “loongarantieregeling”) that is meant to limit the consequences for employees as a result of the bankruptcy. Alucast continues to be the formal employer during the notice period. The UWV takes over certain payments from your employer, under which:
- The wage for a maximum of 13 weeks prior to the date on which the bankruptcy trustee terminated your employment contract;
- The wage for the notice period (including expense reimbursements and pension contributions);
- The unpaid pension contributions for a period of up to one year;
- Vacation days, up to the maximum annual amount of vacation days on the basis of your employment contract;
- The holiday allowance accrued over a period of no more than one year;
- The overtime worked during the 13 weeks prior to the date on which the bankruptcy trustee terminated your employment contract;
It should be noted with regard to the above that the UWV will take over no more than one-and-a-half times the maximum social insurance wage. The maximum monthly social insurance wage amounts to EUR 4.598,28 gross in 2018 and is indexed annually. The part of your wage that is not paid by the UWV can be submitted with the bankruptcy trustee as a claim (see point 5 below). In principle, this will only apply when you earn more than EUR 6.897,42 gross per month, being one-and-a-half times the maximum social insurance wage (in 2018).
The UWV’s final account also indicates which wage obligations are not covered by the wage guarantee scheme. The bankruptcy trustee will in principle recognize the UWV’s final account as evidence in support of your residual claim.
When will you receive the payment?
Intake interviews with the UWV are expected to take place within two weeks. You will receive a notification thereof. During or after the intake interview with the UWV, you will fill out a form. After filling out the form, it will take approximately four weeks before you will receive payment. This could also take longer, however, as a result of high workloads and other circumstances (such as the holiday season). The bankruptcy trustee cannot influence the duration of this procedure. If the delayed payment of wages leads to problems, consider reporting this to your mortgage lendor/landlord. Any questions in this respect must be addressed to the UWV.
It is important for you to possess a valid proof of identification, as a copy thereof must be annexed to the application form of the UWV. If you do not have a valid proof of identification, you are advised to apply for one at your Municipality as soon as possible.
Will anything change with regard to my vacation (days)?
No. If you have already requested and been granted leave, you are, in principle, free to go on holiday, unless the bankruptcy trustee is of the opinion that this would lead to insurmountable problems within Alucast. Naturally, the bankruptcy trustee will consult you if that is the case. It is recommended, however, to make sure that you can be reached by email and telephone during your holiday. Please make sure to provide the HR department with your current email address and telephone number.
What will happen to your lease car or other Alucast property in your possession?
You are obliged to return the lease car and other Alucast property in your possession to your employer/the bankruptcy trustee immediately at first request. You will be notified hereof. Fuel cards are usually blocked automatically (so bear this in mind when you fill up your car).
What will happen to the company mobile phone?
The mobile services provider will usually discontinue the subscription relatively soon. You must hand over your company mobile phone to the bankruptcy trustee at first request. You are advised to make a backup of, for example, private photos you took with your company phone.
What if you live abroad?
The wage guarantee scheme applies to you if you live in the Netherlands. The unemployment benefit you will receive after the end of your employment contract, however, depends on the country you live in.
If you have any questions regarding this bankruptcy, please feel free to contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or +31(0)88 – 304 01 84
email@example.com or +31(0)88 – 304 01 72