If you are losing your job because your employer doesn't need anyone to do your job anymore, you are being made redundant.
The National Employment Standards set out the minimum amount of redundancy pay, or severance, which you are entitled to.
The amount varies according to how long you have been working for that employer. You must have worked there for at least one year to get redundancy pay. After that, you are entitled to a certain number of weeks' pay depending on your length of service. These amounts are listed below and are current as at August 2012:
- Between one and two years = 4 weeks
- Between two and three years = 6 weeks
- Between three and four years = 7 weeks
- Between four and five years = 8 weeks
- Between five and six years = 10 weeks
- Between six and seven years = 11 weeks
- Between seven and eight years = 13 weeks
- Between eight and nine years = 14 weeks
- Between nine and ten years = 16 weeks
- Ten years or more = 12 weeks
These amounts are incorporated into Modern Awards. Your employment contract or Enterprise Agreement may set out something different. The NES allow for the employer to apply to Fair Work Australia to have the amount reduced, and also for small businesses (with under 15 full time employees) to be exempt. It is best to seek experienced legal advice if you are unsure or if you think you are not receiving the redundancy entitlements you deserve.
You are also entitled to a notice period, or payment in lieu of notice. For employees with between one and three years' service, it is two (2) weeks pay. Employees with between three and five years' service, it is 3 weeks. Employees who have worked five years or more are entitled to 4 weeks notice. An extra week is given to workers over 45 years old who have at least two years of service.
You are also entitled to any annual leave and long service leave that you have earned but haven't taken yet.
Can I negotiate a higher redundancy pay than is being offered?
Sometimes, for example, if there is a large-scale redundancy, an employer may offer more than the minimum entitlement. You may think you deserve more because of the effort and time you have put into your job, because you may not get another job in a specialised field, or because you are close to retiring. It can be tricky to ask for more redundancy pay, so it will help if you ask a solicitor to assist you and to negotiate on your behalf.
What if I haven't been paid all my entitlements including annual leave accrual?
From the date of any alleged underpayment of wages, you have six (6) years to make a claim for the amount of underpayment. For help in preparing your claim and assessing the amount you have not been paid, it is recommended to seek legal advice.
There are quite a few things that need considering to ensure your redundancy settlement is appropriate. At Andersons we have a team of solicitors in Employment Law who can assist you with your redundancy entitlements.