Budget 2013-14: Better protections for vulnerable clothing industry workers
Some of Australia’s most vulnerable workers—most of them women—will enjoy greater workplace protections under an extension of the Gillard Government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee.
From tomorrow, outworkers in the textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry will have their unpaid entitlements protected if their employer goes into bankruptcy or liquidation.
“Employees are often given little to no warning when a company goes under,” Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, said.
“This is our way of trying to ensure they are not disadvantaged through situations they have no control over.”
The Fair Entitlements Guarantee locks in financial assistance for workers when their employer goes into liquidation and is unable to pay employee entitlements.
Protected unpaid entitlements include:
- up to 13 weeks of unpaid wages;
- annual leave;
- long service leave;
- payment in lieu of notice – maximum of five weeks; and
- redundancy – maximum of four weeks per full year of service.
“The entitlements of Australian workers, including vulnerable TCF contract outworkers, are now better protected than ever before,” Mr Shorten said.
The extension of the Fair Entitlement Guarantee to TCF contract outworkers will cost $1.2 million over five years.
“These new protections are another example of this Government’s commitment to ensuring workers in this industry receive fair and decent conditions,” Mr Shorten said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Relations Jacinta Collins said the new Fair Entitlements Guarantee Regulation complements amendments to the Fair Work Act in July last year.
“Those changes delivered nationally consistent rights and legal protections to TCF workers for the first time,” Senator Collins said.
“As a result, the chance of contract outworkers in the TCF sector losing their entitlements has been greatly reduced.”
In stark contrast to Labor’s support for Australian workers, Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party voted against the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Act last year and proposed an amendment to reduce entitlements for long-serving employees.
This budget makes the smart investments for our future, puts jobs and economic growth first and protects the important services that Australians rely on.
The Gillard Government is doing this to keep our economy one of the most resilient in the world – we have low unemployment, solid growth, contained inflation and low interest rates.
For more information about the Fair Entitlements Guarantee, visit: http://deewr.gov.au/fair-entitlements-guarantee-feg