Crossbenchers to vote down Fair Entitlements Bill

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Crossbenchers to vote down Fair Entitlements Bill

Unions are jubilant they have convinced crossbench senators to vote against reduced redundancy payouts to employees of bankrupt companies under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme.

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Unions are jubilant they have convinced crossbench senators to vote against reduced redundancy payouts to employees of bankrupt companies under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme.

The government needs the support of the crossbench senators – senators Ricky Muir, John Madigan, Nick Xenophon, Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang – to pass its amendments to the FEG scheme which assists retrenched employees of bankrupt businesses who are owed certain employee entitlements.

Leader of the Palmer United Party Clive Palmer has confirmed it now has a party position to oppose the changes. Labor, the Greens and Cathy McGowan are also opposed to the FEG amendments which would cut redundancy payments to a maximum of 16 weeks, from 1 January 2014.

The government says the cost of the scheme has grown dramatically from 8,626 claimants paid $73 million in 2006-07 to 16,019 claimants paid $262 million in 2012-13, an increase it says is unsustainable.

Unions are calling on the government to instead take action against unscrupulous business operators who avoid paying debts and employee entitlements.

Asked on ABC Radio last night whether the deal was “done”, TCFUA national secretary Michele O'Neil said she was “confident, because the commitment was given directly to us, and it was also given directly to workers affected”.
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