Long-serving employees including casual workers sacked without redundancy entitlements would receive up to 20 weeks severance pay under an ACTU Test Case filed today.

The ACTU today lodged submissions for the Redundancy Test Case with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in Melbourne.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the case would particularly benefit long-serving casual employees, who currently have no redundancy rights, and older workers facing long periods of unemployment.

Under the Test Case, the minimum entitlement for employees made redundant after six or more years of service would be doubled from eight weeks severance pay to 16 weeks, with workers aged over 45-years-old to receive 20 weeks pay.

“The current eight-week cap on severance pay is inadequate when the average period of unemployment after redundancy is 22 weeks. More than one-fifth of employees made redundant in the last few years lost their jobs after more than 10 years’ service.

“It is unfair that 60% of casual employees, or about 1.2 million people, have worked in the same job for more than 12 months but have no redundancy entitlements at all,” Ms Burrow said.

“Extra help is needed for employees aged over 45 who face being unemployed for more than twice as long as younger workers, or 96 weeks of unemployment on average.

“Corporate failures and cutbacks have made 600,000 people redundant in the last few years. One-quarter of them – 150,000 employees – received less than one-day’s notice that they’re losing their job,” Ms Burrow said.

A Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission is expected to hear the case in May next year.