Below is a list of factsheets written by NICRI on a range of redundancy issues. Click on the relevant factsheet to download, and for more information call NICRI on 1800 020 110.
These publications are intended as a guide only and readers should not rely on this information alone as a basis for making an investment decision, but should seek professional financial advice.
If your employer has become insolvent, they may not be able to pay you certain entitlements-including your redundancy package. The Australian Government's Employment and Workplace Relations Services has set up GEERS to assist employees who have lost their job because their employer became insolvent. If the employer is unable to pay certain employee entitlements, such as redundancy packages and unpaid leave, the employee may make a claim to GEERS who will make the required payments, up to specified limits, on behalf of the employer.
Who is eligible?
You are eligible for GEERS assistance if you:
You may also be eligible if you
In all cases, employees must lodge their claim within 12 months of losing their job, the date of resignation or the date which their former employer became bankrupt or went into liquidation.
Who is not eligible?
Contractors, sub-contractors and agents used by the employer are not able to make a claim to GEERS.
As an employee, you are not eligible to receive GEERS assistance if:
What are the entitlements covered by GEERS?
For eligibility of entitlements under GEERS they must be legislated under an award, a statutory agreement, a written contract of employment or confirmed in writing at the time of the appointment of the IP. The Fair Work infoline
13 13 94 can assist in determining conditions of employment and entitlement eligibility.
The amount GEERS will pay out is based on your annual wage. For the financial years 2009/10 and 2010/11, the maximum annual wage is $108 300 ($2 082.70 per week) and $113 800 ($2 188.46 per week) respectively. If you earned more than the GEERS maximum annual wage at the date your employment ended, it will be assumed you earned the GEERS maximum annual wage when your advance is calculated. The department will forward your GEERS advance to the IP who will deduct tax and forward the GEERS advance to you.
If not covered by the federal system you should contact your state service:
If eligible, GEERS will provide the following assistance:
If you are a director or principal of the employer, or a relative of a director or principal you may be entitled to:
You will not be entitled to payments in lieu of notice or redundancy entitlements.
What entitlements are not covered by GEERS?
How do I make a claim?
To lodge your claim, you will need a GEERS claim form. The form is on the Workplace website: http://www.workplace.gov.au/, alternatively you can call the GEERS hotline: 1300 135 040, or email: GEERS@deewr.gov.au.
For more information on GEERS, including the application and processing procedures, and the appeals process see the Workplace website: http://www.workplace.gov.au/ or call the GEERS hotline: 1300 135 040.
Download a copy of this factsheet General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme
Please note: not all employers offer financial redundancy provisions over and above legal entitlements.
What is a Genuine Redundancy Payment?
Your severance pay will include a portion compensating you for the loss of your job in the short term and a portion based on years of service. This portion is called a Genuine Redundancy Payment. For example you may receive a payment that consists of a lump sum for one month’s salary plus one week’s worth of salary for every year of service. How your severance pay is calculated will depend on your employer. On being made redundant, your employer will provide you with a payment summary outlining how much you have been paid, how this was calculated and how much tax is being withheld.
The amount of tax you pay on the Genuine Redundancy Payment depends on the size of the payment. In the 2010/11 year, and if under age 65, $8 126 plus $4 064 for each complete year of service may be received tax free. Any amount over this portion will be treated as an Employment Termination Payment and therefore subject to tax (see factsheet Redundancy and Tax).A Genuine Redundancy Payment cannot be rolled over into superannuation, but you can place it into super as a personal contribution up to age 65. Be aware that contributions on this basis will be subject to the relevant limits and exceeding them can result in a tax liability.
What is an Employment Termination Payment (ETP)?
There are two kinds of benefits that can be paid as an ETP:
1. Life Benefit Termination Payment: paid when a person’s employment has terminated other than as a result of death.
2. Death Benefit Termination Payment: paid to a person (a dependent or non-dependent) in the event of another person’s death.
ETPs can include payments for:
In addition, any payment in excess of the tax free portion of a Genuine Redundancy Payment is treated as an ETP and subject to tax. Unused annual or long service leave are not part of the ETP.
ETPs cannot be rolled over into superannuation unless it is a Transitional ETP. However up to age 65 or if you are between 65 and 74 and meet a work test you can use it to make a personal contribution (subject to the contributions caps).
What is a Transitional ETP?
If you are under a Transitional Arrangement you have the choice to take your ETP as a lump sum, or to roll it over to super. If you are under a Transitional Arrangement, your employer will be able to let you know. Typically, to be under a Transitional Arrangement, it will be outlined in a written contract, an Australian or foreign law (or instrument under such a law), or a Workplace Agreement under the Workplace Relations ACT 1996.
On being made redundant, your employer will give you prepayment statements so you can decide if you would like to roll over your super or not. You will have 30 days to notify your employer if you would like to roll over, if you fail to do so, you will receive the money as a lump sum. If you do decide to roll over, your ETP will become known as a Directed Termination Payment.
What happens with any unused long service leave and annual leave paid on redundancy?
These payments are for leave that you were entitled to, did not take, and therefore are entitled to a cash payment. In some cases, unused sick leave may also be payable. For the tax treatment of these payments, see the Redundancy and Tax factsheet.
How do I know if I'm owed any superannuation benefits?
If any part of your redundancy payout is considered as your base earnings then you will receive a superannuation payment according to the super guarantee rules. For example you may have been entitled to bonuses for work performed, but the employer has not yet paid this to you. In this case, the unpaid bonuses and the superannuation may be included in your redundancy payout.
The following termination payments are not subject to the super guarantee rules:• accrued annual leave, long service leave and sick leave
If you believe your employer has not paid you enough super, or your employer has failed to pass on any amounts you paid as part of a salary sacrifice agreement to your super fund, you can go to the ATO website and find out about claiming unpaid super http://www.ato.gov.au/.
Download a copy of this factsheet Package Components
Redundancy packages consist of various payments including a Genuine Redundancy Payment, an Employment Termination Payment (ETP) and other entitlement payments. Each payment is taxed differently, and it is important to consider the tax treatment when making decisions. This factsheet is designed to help you understand how each of these payments is taxed.
Do I receive a statement to show me my entitlements?
Yes. On being made redundant your employer should provide you with a payment summary. You should get this document within 14 days of being paid. The payment summary will tell you how much you received, what your redundancy package consists of and how much tax is being withheld. You will have to keep this document for your next income tax return.
How is the Genuine Redundancy Payment treated for tax?
A Genuine Redundancy Payment (formally known as a bona fide redundancy payment) is paid on being made redundant. Typically, these payments are a severance pay based on years of service, but to find out how yours will be calculated, you will need to ask your employer.
If you are made redundant before age 65 in the 2010/11 financial year, a limit of $8 126 plus, for each complete year of service $4 064 may be received tax free. For example, if you were made redundant after 15 years, up to $8 126 + (15 × $4 064) = $69 086 can be received tax free.
The Genuine portion of a redundancy payment cannot be rolled over to super, but can be put into super as a personal contribution. A contributions cap applies which, if exceeded, will result in more tax being payable. See the NICRI publication Superannuation Tax Considerations and the factsheet Superannuation and Tax or the ATO's website: http://www.ato.gov.au/ for more details on contributions caps.
What about other payments that I may receive like ETP's?
ETP's include payments for unused rostered days off, payments in lieu of notice, a gratuity/ex gratia (golden handshake) payment, invalidity payments and certain payments on the death of an employee. The tax free components of the ETP are any invalidity payments, and/or any pre July 1983 payments. Both of these are rare. Other ETP components are subject to tax. In addition, any payment in excess of the tax free portion of a Genuine Redundancy Payment is considered an ETP, and is subject to tax.
The amount of tax payable is dependent on your age and the size of the ETP:
$0 to $160 000
Under preservation age
Over preservation age
Note: Tax rates include Medicare levy (1.5%).
Unless transitional arrangements apply, the ETP cannot be rolled over into super. You can still make a personal contribution, but you will be subject to the contributions caps.
If the Transitional Rules apply, you may be able to place your ETP into a super fund or purchase a super annuity until 30 June 2012. A Directed Termination Payment is where you choose to rollover your ETP into super. It will be up to you to notify your employer if you would like a Directed Termination Payment. The tax payable on a Transitional ETP depends on your age, the size of the Transitional ETP and whether or not the payment is a Directed Termination Payment. If rolled over, the payment is subject to the 15% tax rate faced by the fund.
Tax on the taxable component of ETP - not rolled over
Tax on the taxable component of ETP - rolled over
Under preservation age
Up to $1 million: taxed at 31.5%
At or above preservation age
Up to $160 000: taxed at 16.5%
Tax on unused leave paid on redundancy
Part of your redundancy package may include any unused annual and long service leave. These are not part of the ETP because they are normal entitlements that would be paid to you had you resigned. Unused leave payments are taxed as follows:
What about life benefits?
A Life Benefit termination payment is an ETP made in consequence of a person's termination of employment other than as a result of death. This kind of ETP is taxed as mentioned above.
Please note: not all employers offer financial redundancy provisions over and above legal entitlements.
Download a copy of this factsheet Redundancy and Tax
If you are facing an unexpected redundancy, Government Income Support may assist your transition between jobs. While you are looking for work you may be eligible for the Newstart Allowance, Rent Assistance and also a Concession Card. Austudy is available to those who decide to return to study. This factsheet introduces these options but, for more information, details on rates and payments, and Asset and Income Test thresholds see Centrelink's website: http://www.centrelink.gov.au/ or call Centrelink's Employment Services on 13 28 50.
What about eligibility?
To be eligible for any Centrelink payment, applicants must:
Redundancy payments and eligibility
Most Centrelink payments are subject to an Income and Assets Test. Eligibility to a pension or full allowance depends on your income and assets and, if applicable, those of your spouse. For more details on eligibility and the Income and Assets Tests, see Centrelink's website or call 13 61 50.
If you receive a redundancy package, it will be subject to the Income Maintenance Period (IMP) provisions and will be considered as income for the length of time the leave entitlements cover. Depending on how much you are paid and the time it was paid for, you may not be entitled to an income support payment. If you are already receiving income support, your payments may be reduced or stopped. (The Blind Pension is not Means Tested so this test does not apply).
Newstart or Austudy payments may be deferred if your liquid assets exceed $5 500 for singles without dependants, or $11 000 for couples or for singles with dependents. Liquid assets are amounts that are easily accessible and include cash, bank deposits, shares and amounts owed to you by friends and family. If your redundancy package and other investments classed as liquid assets are over these limits, your income support will be deferred. Exceptions can be made if hardships provisions apply.
What types of income support are available?
Newstart provides assistance to people who are looking for work. For more information on the Newstart Allowance see the Centrelink website or call Centrelink's Employment Services: 13 28 50.
To be eligible for Newstart you must be:
If you are eligible you must also be willing to submit to an Activity Test which involves proving you are actively looking for suitable paid work, attending all interviews and willing to accept suitable job offers. You may also be required to enter into an Employment Pathway Plan (EPP). The EPP is a legal document that starts from the date you sign it. It is tailored to your situation and outlines what you have agreed to do to get a job. If you refuse to enter into an EPP or fail to abide by the conditions of the EPP your payment may be suspended until you amend the situation.
If you return to full time study or training, you may choose to apply for an Austudy allowance. Unlike Newstart, you do not have to be looking for work to receive payments. For more details on study loads, approved courses, and payment rates see the Centrelink website or call Centrelink's Youth and Student Services: 13 24 90.
To qualify for Austudy you must be:
If you are studying part time, your payment may be affected. The amount you get from Austudy is determined by your income, assets, marital status and the number of dependents in your care. If you do not own your own home, you may be eligible for Rent Assistance as well.
If you receive Newstart (job seeker) or Austudy allowances, are single, caring for a dependent child and looking for work you may qualify for a Pension Concession Card or a low income Health Care Card. Also, if you do find a job, you may be able to keep the concession card for a while longer (subject to conditions). For more information on the concession cards, see Centrelink's website or call Centrelink's Retirement Services on 13 23 00.
The concession cards may entitle you to:
Depending on your State/Territory Government and local council rules, you may also receive the following benefits
If you qualify for Government Income Support and do not own your own home, or are living away from home, you may be eligible for Rent Assistance. The rate of payment depends on how much rent you need to pay, your marital status and the number of dependents in your care. You will not qualify for Rent Assistance if you currently pay rent directly to State or Territory Housing Authorities. Also, the amount of rent you pay must exceed a certain amount before you can qualify for Rent Assistance. Other eligibility criteria include:
- Are over 25 years, or
- Have a partner, or
- Are under 25 years and living permanently or indefinitely away from home.
Download a copy of this factsheet Government Income Support
Facing change in the work place as result of a redundancy can be very challenging. It may not be possible to plan for a redundancy as they often "come as a complete surprise". However, from the time of being aware of a forthcoming redundancy it is important that planning should take place.
Updating your resume thoroughly is important, especially if you have not needed to write one for a while. You need to include your contact details, qualifications, history of employment and any other information relevant to the jobs you apply for. The idea is to show how adaptable, hard working and talented you are.
Education and Qualifications: Employers will be interested in what qualifications you have, so they can determine how technically suited you are for the job and what training you need. Employers are not only interested in what you know, but your ability to adapt and learn quickly. You may find that you are more qualified than you think so consider the following:
History of Employment: Your history of employment should start with your most recent position, working through to your first. Include all work experience relevant to your position. If you are changing careers completely, for example from banking to hospitality, still include as much work experience as possible. For example if changing from banking to hospitality, your previous banking positions may have had a high customer focus which is integral to hospitality. Your history of employment should include the name of the employer, your position, main responsibilities and any skills and achievements. You need to show your prospective employer your capabilities, motivation and strong work ethic.
Applying for Jobs
Applying for jobs can be a long process and requires a great deal of perseverance. Look in the newspaper, on company websites, gazettes and employment agency websites. Business and personal contacts can be very useful in seeking out positions available as they may be aware of jobs available with competitors.
You need to take the time to submit a quality application. Many employers place a great deal of emphasis on the initial application when selecting who to interview. Your application should have particular focus towards the position and the business rather than a broad application that could be sent to any business and a broad range of positions. You may need to conduct some research on the business not only for the application but also for the potential interview so that you may be able to insert some matching point of your experience with the business and position. Finally, the application should be positive, concise and stand out. The objective is to get an interview.
Selection Criteria (if applicable)
In your application you will need to address the selection criteria of the job you are applying for. This step focuses on matching positions in the workplace with your education, training and positive personality traits. Quite often you will be required to make a set of claims against the selection criteria. You may need to provide details of a particular experience, task or problem you may have faced that displays your aptitude to a particular selection criteria. For example they may ask for an example where you contributed effectively to team success. The claims you make do not necessarily have to relate to your work history. Your community involvement, interests and any sporting activities outside the workplace are also appropriate as they demonstrate energy and attitudes.
The purpose of the interview is not only for your prospective employers to get to know you, but also to allow you to get to know the job. Be open about yourself to help them find out if you suit the job. Also ask questions to find out if the job is what you want. Some things to consider before the interview are:
Your objective is a second interview or an offer.
Job Services Australia
Job Services Australia is an Australian Government initiative which commenced 1 July 2009. It is designed to increase employment participation, address skills in demand and assist individual job seekers find employment. For information on job services providers click here.
Australian JobSearch is a free online job search site set up and funded by the Australian Government for both job seekers and employers.
JobSearch has a range of features including:
You will get assistance that is suited to your particular needs and circumstances.
All job seekers, not only those in receipt of government income support, are entitled to:
Job seekers wanting more information can visit http://www.jobsearch.gov.au/ or phone 13 62 68. JobSearch also has a number of features to help employers find the right person for the job. Employers can visit http://www.jobsearch.gov.au/ or call 13 17 15.
Depending on your circumstances you may receive more intensive services, aimed at helping you with whatever may be stopping you from getting work. Your Job Services Australia Provider will make sure that these services match your particular needs and circumstances.
As well as being able to tap into the range of services from Job Services Australia, you may also have access to additional, specialised support under the Jobs and Training Compact. However some of these services will only be available until March 2011. Services include:
Centrelink will assess your eligibility for these specialised services and make an appointment for you with your local Job Services Australia provider. Contact your local Centrelink office for more information.
If you have recently lost your job and believe you have not received the entitlements you are owed, contact Fair Work Australia. Fair Work Australia can help you recover your outstanding entitlements. You can call the Fair Work Australia Help Line on 1300 724 200.
Download a copy of this factsheet Career Transition
NICRI's moneymap is an online tool that can be accessed through NICRI's website: www.nicri.org.au. moneymap users can enter information about their own financial position to assist in the financial planning process. Moneymap assists you to:
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
The ATO website: http://www.ato.gov.au/ has a range of publications providing information on issues relating to redundancy as well as tax and superannuation. When using the search engine on the site, the following are some suggested key words:
ATO Fact sheets
Available on the ATO website.
Employment Termination Payment (ETP) Calculator
The ATO website also has an ETP calculator. To find it, enter the following address or search for it by typing "ETP calculator" in the search bar. http://calculators.ato.gov.au/scripts/axos/axos.asp?CONTEXT=&KBS=ETP_2007.xr4&go=ok
The calculator is to help employers with calculations involved in making employment termination payments on or after 1 July 2007. It is also a handy tool for employees.
Superannuation Benefit Component Calculator
This calculator, also located on the ATO website, is to help superannuation funds to determine the proportions or percentages of the tax free component and taxable component of a superannuation interest. A superannuation interest is any amount, benefit or entitlement you hold in a fund. These figures are then applied to calculate the tax free and taxable components of a superannuation benefit. To find this calculator search for "superannuation benefit component calculator" or enter the following address:
Tax Withheld Calculator
This calculator helps employers work out how to deduct tax from employee wages. This can also be useful for employees. You can find this calculator to download by searching for "tax withheld calculator" or by going to the following address:
For details regarding Government Income Support, including eligibility, rates and thresholds, see Centrelink's website: www.centrelink.gov.au. Centrelink also has a range of publications on their website providing information on a range of issues. Simply click on the "publications" link on the left-hand menu. Centrelink's Financial Information Service (FIS) also provides information regarding investments as well as Government Income Support. Call 13 23 00 to make an appointment to see a FIS officer or call 13 63 57 to book into a FIS seminar.
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)
The DEEWR website: www.deewr.gov.au provides information on a range of Government programs regarding education and employment. The website has information for job seekers, those being made redundant, and students.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
ASIC is Australia's corporate, markets and financial services regulator and their website is www.asic.gov.au. The website contains a list of publications produced by ASIC, information regarding your rights if your employer is facing insolvency and information regarding investments, loans, financial planning and advice. More consumer financial literacy education tools can be found on ASIC's FIDO site: www.fido.gov.au.
On being made redundant, it's a good idea to get to know your superfund. Your superannuation fund can provide you with information regarding when you can access your super, fees and charges, investment plans, tax issues and retirement plans. It may also be a good time to think about how you manage your super:
Financial counsellors offer a free service to Australians who are in financial difficulty. They are often based in community agencies and funded largely by State and Federal Government. To find a financial counsellor, you can contact the Australian Financial Counselling and Credit Reform Association (AFCCRA) via their website, www.afccra.org, and follow the link through ‘for consumers' or click on ‘Find a financial counsellor in your State or Territory.'
Download a copy of this factsheet Useful Info and Planning Tools