Employees who are owed certain employee entitlements after losing their job because their employer went bankrupt or into liquidation may be able to get financial help from the Australian Government.
This help is available through the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) if their employer went bankrupt or entered liquidation before 5 December 2012 or through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) if their employer went bankrupt or entered liquidation on or after 5 December 2012.
GEERS is a safety net scheme of last resort, with assistance available for:
- unpaid wages (for work performed in the three month period prior to the appointment of an insolvency practitioner)
- unpaid annual leave
- unpaid long service leave
- unpaid pay in lieu of notice (up to five weeks)
- unpaid redundancy pay (up to four weeks for each year of service).
To be eligible for GEERS assistance, former employees must meet all of the eligibility requirements outlined in the GEERS Operational Arrangements.
More information about eligibility, how to apply and lodging a claim for assistance is available.
If you have lost your job and believe you are owed outstanding employee entitlements, but your employer is not in liquidation or bankrupt, then you can seek further information from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), or from the insolvency practitioner looking after the business affairs of your former employer.
If your employer is still operating a business, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) may be able to provide information about the employer’s obligations to meet unpaid employee entitlements.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), enforces and regulates company and financial services laws to protect consumers, investors and creditors. Employees of abandoned companies who are owed employee entitlements can submit a request to ASIC to wind up the company.
If a Receiver and Manager or Administrator has been appointed to your employer (or a Debt Agreement Administrator has been appointed in the case of an individual or partnership employer), you may contact the appointed insolvency practitioner for information about the future direction of the employer. To check if a company is in liquidation or external administration, you can do a business names or organisations search on ASIC Connect or search the insolvency notices.
Any workers who are made redundant are eligible for employment services from a Job Services Australia provider based on their level of need and personal circumstances. To find out more about this assistance you can call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or you can contact Centrelink on 13 28 50.
Centrelink can assess your situation and work out what services you are eligible for, including eligibility for income support. Centrelink can also offer free, unbiased financial advice for employees who are made redundant. More information is available from Centrelink at www.humanservices.gov.au.
Want to know more?
- Call 1300 135 040
If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450 for the cost of a local call. Ask TIS National to call GEERS on 1300 135 040.
If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS) in two easy steps:
- choose your preferred NRS access point
- call the GEERS phone number 1300 135 040.
GEERS was established in 2001.
On 1 January 2011, the Australian Government increased the amount of redundancy pay assistance available through GEERS to a maximum of four weeks’ pay per completed year of employment.
The Department of Employment has noted the emergence of a scam where members of the public or GEERS claimants are contacted (either by phone or email) by persons claiming to be from GEERS or the (fictional) Australian Grants Department. The scams can include requests for an up-front payment in order to enable a GEERS payment to be made.
The department warns the public that these are not legitimate requests under GEERS and under no circumstances would a person be requested to send money to GEERS or to provide their bank details directly to GEERS staff.
A person who has been the victim of such scams or attempted scams should report the incident to the police. Please also advise the department if you have reported a scam or an attempted scam to the police.