Privileges for employees, why really?, TvI 2023/2

In this series this time, focus on the position of employees in the distribution of the assets of the bankrupt employer. Employee claims have long been privileged. Why is the employee privileged over many other creditors? How does his privilege relate to the wage guarantee scheme? And what would be the consequences if this privilege were abolished? This contribution seeks answers to these questions.

1. Introduction

A company's insolvency affects all its creditors, and that includes its employees. All of these creditors seek satisfaction of their claims, the sooner the better. This can lead to great turmoil, which manifests itself, for example, in attachment and foreclosure disputes. Nor is it bold to assume that creditors who are more vigorous in deed or capital than others will succeed in collecting their claim sooner than those others. All this is what the legislature intended to prevent. First, by means of the principle of paritas creditorum, the principle of equality of all creditors contained in Article 3:277(1) of the Civil Code. In principle, creditors all have equal rank, regardless of the date from which their claim dates and regardless of any attachment that may have been made.

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