Hearings begin in the Industrial Relations Commission today on an ACTU Test Case to increase the redundancy entitlements of millions of employees across Australia.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said the case would end discrimination in redundancy regulations that have not been comprehensively updated for 20 years.

“Many redundant workers are unfairly disadvantaged by differing regulations between the States, by different rules for permanent and casual employees and by special treatment of smaller businesses,” Mr Combet said.

“The ACTU Test Case will establish a fair minimum standard for all long-serving employees regardless of where they live or work, including for casuals who currently receive no redundancy entitlements at all – even if they have been in the job for many years.

”Pan Pharmaceuticals last week acknowledged the unfairness of the current regulations by agreeing to redundancy payments for long-serving casuals who were sacked through no fault of their own. The ACTU’s case would provide a similar fair go for all casuals made redundant after more than 12 months in the job.”

The ACTU’s Test Case would also:

  • double severance entitlements from eight weeks pay to 16 weeks pay for
    workers made redundant after more than six years of service;
  • increase severance pay for workers with between two and five years service
    in line with the current New South Wales standard; and
  • provide up to four weeks extra severance pay for workers aged over 45, who
    on average face being unemployed for more than twice as long as younger
  • Mr Combet said that the current cap on severance pay of eight weeks was inadequate when redundant workers on average experienced 22 weeks of unemployment.

    Read ACTU Senior Industrial Officer Andrew Watson’s opening address to the AIRC.