Bill's Media Releases

Workers’ Entitlement Guarantee Locked in Law

Today the Gillard Labor Government passed legislation that will deliver the strongest protections for workers’ entitlements ever seen in Australia.

 Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act 2012 will provide certainty for Australian workers who find themselves without a job, and with entitlements owing, when their employer enters liquidation or bankruptcy.

“Employees are often given little to no warning when a company goes under. It’s vital we ensure they are not disadvantaged through situations they have no control over,” Mr Shorten said.

 “The Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme will replace the existing General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).

 “Over the past five years more than 63,700 employees across Australia have received GEERS assistance worth a cumulative total of over $663 million.

 “Workers who lose their job have enough to worry about. They don’t need the extra worry of how they will put food on the table or where the next mortgage repayment is coming from,” Mr Shorten said.

 Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins, said the passing of this Act ensures workers who are victims of employer liquidation or bankruptcy are supported by a government that supports Australian workers.

 “Under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee eligible employees will be covered for unpaid entitlements that are not able to be paid by their employer in an insolvency event including unpaid wages, annual leave, long service leave, redundancy and payment in lieu of notice,” Senator Collins said.

 The Act delivers two key improvements for workers:

 provides certainty to workers that they will receive their redundancy payment and other entitlements if their employer enters liquidation or bankruptcy; and

  • delivers a fundamental additional protection through enshrining protections under law.

 Mr Shorten said the Opposition had returned to their anti-worker ways.

 “Having already tried to limit workers’ entitlements in the House of Representatives, today the Opposition again sought to punish Australian workers who have loyally worked for companies for years,” Mr Shorten said.

 The Coalition again sought to cap this entitlement at 16 weeks in an attempt to reduce existing protections for workers in difficult circumstances.”

 “Despite the opposition of Tony Abbott, the Gillard Government is proud to have passed this important piece of legislation through the Parliament with the support from a number of stakeholders.”

 Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey – 0421 697 660

Senator Collins’ Media Contact: Jonathan Davies – 0409 354 493