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Government strengthens commitment to protect employee entitlements.



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Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service 12 October, 2005

Media Release

302/05

Government strengthens commitment to protect employee entitlements

The Howard Government has boosted its commitment to protecting employee entitlements with an additional $62

million in funding to enhance the range of entitlements available to employees under the General Employee

Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).

Since the Howard Government introduced the first federal employee entitlements scheme in January 2000, over

54,000 Australian workers have received in excess of $661 million in assistance for their entitlements lost due to the

insolvency of their employer.

This is in stark contrast to Labor, who had 13 years in government to do something about protecting employee

entitlements, and did nothing. Labor’s alternative is to impose a new payroll tax of 0.1% on business to pay for its

own bureaucratic entitlements scheme.

By enhancing the range of entitlements available under GEERS, the Government is improving access for Australian

workers and their families to a fair and appropriate level of support in the event of business failure.

The GEERS scheme will now include:

z assistance for underpaid wages in the three month period prior to the date of employer insolvency;

z coverage for employees who resign or whose employment is terminated up to six months prior to the date of

their employer’s insolvency; z assistance that recognises a claimant’s entitlement to notice of termination under their terms of employment.

This will provide a fairer approach for individuals in relation to notice provisions; and z assistance for previously ineligible claimants by aligning the definition of ‘excluded employee’ under GEERS

with the relevant definition under the Corporations Act 2001.

The Scheme’s Operational Arrangements will also be updated to ensure its integrity is maintained by providing for

assistance in the event of a liquidation or bankruptcy.

The changes to GEERS will apply to insolvencies that occur on or after 1 November 2005.

For further information contact:

Russ Street 0417 044 712