Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten has exercised discretion to expedite access to the Government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) for staff made redundant from a number of Hastie Group companies since administrators were appointed on 28 May.
“After receiving clear advice from administrators that affected Hastie Group companies will go into liquidation, we can now move to ensure workers can access GEERS assistance faster,” Mr Shorten said.
“My Department is in contact with the insolvency practitioners to arrange expedited access to GEERS claims and payments.
“This means that workers can access their unpaid entitlements sooner and not have to wait until the companies go into liquidation at a later time.
"The collapse of these Hastie Group companies represents exceptional circumstances. I am satisfied that my decision today is consistent with the intention of the scheme and is not being used to facilitate business restructuring.”
Just over 2000 people have lost their jobs in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland through the collapse of Hastie Group.
GEERS helps workers recover entitlements including:
- up to 3 months unpaid wages
- unpaid Long Service Leave
- unpaid Annual Leave
- up to 5 weeks Pay in Lieu of Notice, and
- redundancy pay (capped at 4 weeks for each year of service).
While early access to GEERS is processed, Hastie Group workers can continue to access a range of Government support through Job Services Australia providers, including help with job applications and interviews, and other career advice.
Where workers are located in Priority Employment Areas, the Local Employment Coordinators in each area are working closely with local stakeholders to help support these redundant workers.
Any redundant workers aged 45 and over can also access free, professional career counselling through the Experience+ Career Advice service.
The Career Advisers will help mature age workers make informed decisions about their future and become more confident to achieve their workforce goals, such as identifying their transferrable skills, exploring appropriate career options and preparing a plan of action to help them find a job.