On 2 September 2016, Componenta BV (“Componenta”) was declared bankrupt at its own request by the Limburg District Court, location Roermond.
The District Court appointed Mr P.M.C. (Peter) Brouns of Boels Zanders Advocaten as bankruptcy trustee.
1. 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. Componenta was declared bankrupt at its own request. The district court appoints a bankruptcy trustee who is tasked, 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.
2. 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 authorisation 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 state of bankruptcy is limited to a period of no more than 6 weeks.
3. Will I still receive my salary?
You will still receive your salary, subject to the following. The Employee Insurance Agency (“UWV”) employs a wage guarantee scheme that is meant to limit the consequences that employees will suffer as a result of the bankruptcy. Componenta continues to be your employer during the notice period. The UWV takes over certain payments from your employer, to wit:
- 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 social insurance wage amounts to EUR 4,937.20 gross in 2016 and is indexed annually. Any remaining back wages for the part of your wage that is not taken over by the UWV can be submitted to the bankruptcy trustee (see point 5 below). In principle, this will only apply when you earn more than EUR 6,595.80 gross per month, being one-and-a-half times the maximum social insurance wage (in 2016).
The UWV’s final account also indicates which wage obligations are not covered by the wage guarantee scheme. The bankruptcy trustee will in principle recognise the UWV’s final account as evidence in support of your residual claim.
4. When will you receive the payment?
Intake interviews with the UWV are expected to take place in the short term. 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 take longer, however, as a result of high workloads and other circumstances. The bankruptcy trustee has no influence on this. If the delayed payment of wages leads to problems, consider reporting this to your mortgage lendor/landlord. Any questions in this respect must be referred to the UWV.
It is important for you to have a valid proof of identification, as a copy thereof must be annexed to the form for the UWV. If you do not have a valid proof of identification, you are advised to apply for one at your Municipality.
5. 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 Componenta. Naturally, the bankruptcy trustee will enter into consultations with 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 P&O department with your current email address and telephone number.
6. What will happen to your lease car or other Componenta property in your possession?
You will return the lease car and other Componenta property in your possession to your employer/the bankruptcy trustee immediately on request. You will be notified hereof. Fuel cards are usually blocked automatically (so bear this in mind when you fill up your car).
7. What will happen to the company mobile phone?
The mobile services provider will usually discontinue the subscription quite soon. You must hand over your company mobile phone to the bankruptcy trustee. You are advised to make a backup of, for example, private photos you took with your company phone.
8. 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.