Monday, 2 May 2016
The Duffy-Cahill Report - or, to use its full title, the Expert Examination and Review of Laws on the Protection of Employee Interests when Assets are Separated from the Operating Entity - was published last week by the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation: see here (pdf). The report was commissioned following the insolvency of a well-known employer - the Clerys Department Store on O'Connell Street in Dublin - and the much publicised job losses. Prior to the insolvency, the business had been restructured such that ownership of an important property asset and the business operations were separated into two different entities. The monies owing to the employees were not paid, an apparent result - the Report notes - of the transfer of the asset. The transaction that produced this result may have been lawful, but the Report's authors state that "it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it would be preferable if it were not" (para. 1.10). A number of employment law reforms are proposed and suggestions are also made as to how certain provisions in the Companies Act 2014 might be more widely used in the protection of employees' interests.