The government will guarantee unpaid entitlements for any non-employee workers in the textile, clothing and footwear industries if their employers collapse or go bankrupt, it announced in tonight’s budget.
The new funding is an extension of the current Fair Entitlements Scheme, and will be directed towards any workers who are not currently classified as employees.
In the budget papers, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the funding would provide unpaid entitlements for non-employees if their main employer collapses into liquidation, or registers for bankruptcy.
“Employees are often given little to no warning when a company goes under,” Shorten said. “This is our way of trying to ensure they are not disadvantaged through situations they have no control over.”
The extension will accommodate the “unique working arrangements of TCF contract outworkers”, the budget papers said.
“It will enable [Fair Entitlements Guarantee] assistance to be provided where a TCF contract outworker has not been paid for their work and the person who engaged them to do the work enters into liquidation or bankruptcy.”
The funding will begin at $200,000 in 2013-14, and expand to $300,000 in the following three years.
The protected unpaid entitlements will include up to 13 weeks of unpaid wages, annual leave, long service leave, payment in lieu of notice and redundancy, to a maximum of four weeks per full year of service.
Parliamentary secretary for workplace relations Jacinta Collins said the new funding comes alongside amendments in the Fair Work act to provide legal protections for TCF workers.
“As a result, the chance of contract outworkers in the TCF sector losing their entitlements has been greatly reduced.”