The Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard today announced assistance to employees affected by the closure of automotive wholesale company, National Parts Pty Ltd.
The Minister has decided to use her discretion to ensure that the workers are entitled to access the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), as the company is unlikely to recover from its financial situation.
National Parts Pty Ltd closed on 12 February 2008, resulting in the termination of employment of approximately 300 workers across Australia. It is unclear at this time whether the company has any funds to cover outstanding employee entitlements. The Government’s sympathy goes out to these workers and their families and hopes this decision provides some comfort.
All affected workers are strongly encouraged to contact Centrelink as retrenched workers will be eligible for job search support assistance with a Job Network member.
The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has been asked to work closely with the administrator to achieve the best possible outcome for these workers.
The Government will provide financial assistance to support those eligible employees who remain out of pocket due to their employer's inability to provide them with their entitlements.
GEERS assistance is available for unpaid wages, annual leave, long service leave, payment in lieu of notice and up to a maximum of 16 weeks redundancy entitlement.
GEERS assistance is also available for unremitted employee superannuation contributions. Unremitted employer contributions are covered by legislative requirements, enforced by the Treasurer.
The administrator, KordaMentha, is providing claim forms for GEERS assistance to the former employees of National Parts Pty Ltd.
On 14 February 2008, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, announced a comprehensive review of Australia's automotive industry to be conducted by Mr Steve Bracks.
The establishment of the review recognises the importance of the industry and reflects the Government's determination to ensure its long term viability and sustainability.