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Support for retrenched workers

If you have lost your job, you will need to take care of your financial, mental and physical wellbeing. The government provides programs, support and resources designed to help you to navigate through the retrenchment process. On this page you’ll find helpful information about understanding your finances (including payouts), whether you are eligible for Centrelink benefits, and how to start looking for a new job.

It is never easy when you find out you have been retrenched. There are many things going through your mind, with the added stress of finding a new job. This can often leave you wondering, what’s next and where do I start?

The Australian Government is making it easier for you to get back on your feet by providing job search support as soon as you are retrenched.

From 1 July 2019, you and your partner can immediately register with a jobactive provider. Providers can assist you with strategies and tools to re-enter employment as soon as possible.

The change to eligibility means you no longer have to wait to access a jobactive provider.

Importantly, the level of support you receive is tailored to your circumstances. It can include help with their job search, assistance with job applications and interview techniques.

This includes providing pathways for you to consider new careers through such tools as Skills Match. Skills Match allows you to identify jobs based on existing skills and experience from previous employment.

The Redundancy Information Statement is a good place to start. It outlines many of your rights and entitlements.

Redundancy Information Statement (RIS)

The Redundancy Information Statement (RIS) is a resource designed to help educate workers about all of their rights and entitlements in the event they are retrenched.

The RIS includes information on redundancy pay, notice periods and financial entitlements. It also outlines support services you can access if you have been made redundant, such as help finding a new job, financial advice, and looking after your health and wellbeing.

You can contact the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or email retrenchment@employment.gov.au to find out what other information and support is available to you.

State-based assistance

There is a range of support available to help people who have lost their job, and many of these initiatives are place-based.

For specific information about services available in your area, click the link to your state:

Government Employment Services

jobactive

jobactive is the Australian Government’s employment service. It helps to improve job outcomes and meet the needs of both job seekers and employers. It is delivered by providers located around Australia.

If you have lost your job, you may be eligible to receive help from a jobactive provider. Jobactive can help you to find a new job in many ways, including:

  • help looking for work
  • writing a résumé and preparing for interviews
  • referrals to jobs in your local area
  • training that is suited to the skills that local employers need
  • case management so that you are ready to take up and keep a job
  • providing access to resources to help with your job including the internet, printers and newspapers.

The jobactive website is also a valuable resource for jobseekers. It includes useful articles on how to find a job, and will give you access to JobSearch. JobSearch is a free online jobs website where you can search and apply for jobs, and find your local jobactive provider.

A jobactive factsheet, Help for workers who have recently lost their jobs, contains information on jobactive eligibility and many other support services available to you.

For more information on jobactive, call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68.

Stronger Transitions

The Stronger Transitions package supports retrenched workers affected by large-scale redundancies and in in five regions where the local labour market faces difficulties. It includes skills and training support, employment support, better connecting employers with skilled workers, increasing labour mobility and providing access to small business opportunities.

The five Stronger Transitions regions are:

  • North/West Adelaide,
  • Mandurah (WA),
  • North Queensland,
  • North/North-West Tasmania
  • Melbourne North/West

If you have been retrenched and you live in one of these regions, then you may be able to receive extra support through the Stronger Transitions package.

For more information about the kinds of support offered by the package, see the Stronger Transitions page on the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business website.

Advice on entitlements

All employees who are being retrenched have certain rights under the Fair Work Act 2009 including eligibility for a payout. Payouts are determined by how long you've been with the company and any outstanding entitlements you are owed.

For more information about your rights and obligations, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

You should also be aware that the Australian Government provides financial assistance to cover certain unpaid employment entitlements to eligible employees who lose their job due to the liquidation or bankruptcy of their employer. For more information visit the Fair Entitlements Guarantee page.

Will my payout get taxed?

In certain circumstances, a portion of your payout may be tax-free up to a certain limit, based on your years of service with your employer.

Visit the “Taxation of termination payments” page on the Australian Tax Office website for information about the tax implications of any payout you are receiving, including what portion will end up in your bank account after tax.

Receiving Centrelink benefits after retrenchment

The Department of Human Services (DHS) provides financial assistance in certain circumstances to jobseekers. To find out if you are eligible for any Centrelink benefits, or to find a Centrelink Customer Service Centre in your area, use the Centrelink Payment Finder.

Please note: If you receive a payout as a result of your position being made redundant, you may be subject to an Income Maintenance Period that will affect how quickly you can start receiving certain payments and allowances.

If you wish to contact Centrelink directly, go to the “Contact us” page of the DHS website.

Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG)

Employees who lose their job because their employer went bankrupt or into liquidation may be able to get financial help from the Government.

The Fair Entitlements Guarantee is a legislative safety net scheme of last resort that ensures retrenched employees receive their fair entitlements when the employer is unable to meet their obligations. If the employer has not entered bankruptcy or liquidation, FEG payments are not available—you should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman in relation to the employer’s refusal to pay your entitlements.

For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, visit the FEG page. You can also call the Fair Entitlements Guarantee hotline on 1300 135 040.

Support for retrenched ASC Shipbuilding Pty Ltd workers, affected supply chain workers, and partners

If you have been retrenched from ASC Shipbuilding Pty Ltd after 1 July 2018, are an eligible ASC Shipbuilding Pty Ltd supply chain company worker, or are the partner of one of these workers, you may be able to receive extra support.

More information on the support available to you can be found on the following pages:

Support for retrenched automotive manufacturing workers

As announced in the 2018–19 Budget, intensive employment assistance provided to automotive workers through the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Program has been extended until 30 June 2019.

If you have been retrenched from an eligible company in the automotive manufacturing industry, you may be able to receive extra support.

For more information, go to the jobactive factsheet, Help for workers who have recently lost their jobs, for information on support services available to you.

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