Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, said the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Bill 2012 will provide certainty for Australian workers who find themselves without a job, and with entitlements owing, when their employer enters insolvency.
“Workers who lose their job under these circumstances 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.
“By replacing the existing General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme, the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme will provide the strongest protection of employee entitlements working Australians have ever seen.
“Employees often get no say when a company goes under and we don’t think it’s fair that they are disadvantaged through no fault of their own.”
Mr Shorten said the Bill will deliver two key improvements for workers, including:
- Provide certainty to workers that they will receive their redundancy and other entitlements if their employer becomes insolvent
- Provide a fundamental additional protection as these provisions will be enshrined under law.
Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations, Senator Jacinta Collins, said these protections demonstrate Labor’s commitment to the Australian sense of a fair go by providing workers with a scheme they can rely on.
“This scheme cannot be scrapped with the flick of a pen, it will be Abbott-proof,” Senator Collins said.
Eligible employees will be covered for unpaid entitlements including redundancy, annual leave, long service leave, unpaid wages and payment in lieu of notice.
“We have also strengthened eligibility for entitlements where employees continue to work past the appointment of an insolvency practitioner. No longer will there be a gap in entitlements paid,” Senator Collins said.
“The external review process will also ensure that reviews are assessed in a transparent and fair way, to give workers further peace of mind.
“The Gillard Government made the commitment to replace the existing General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme with a robust legislative framework because we believe Australian workers deserve a fair go. We do so with the support of a range of stakeholders and hope the Opposition will also support this Bill so as to ensure even stronger protections for working Australians across our Nation.”
Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804
Senator Collins’ Media contact: Jonathan Davies 0409 354 493