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Ben Packham

May 18, 2009 12:00am
TAXPAYERS have thrown a $21 million lifeline to more than 1400 workers sacked without their entitlements in just one month.

The March redundancies bailout follows a surge in company collapses that have left employees out in the cold.

Official figures show a spike in the number of workers losing their legal entitlements along with their jobs.

Since December, more than 5000 have had to rely on the Federal Government’s redundancy safety net.

They drew more than $51 million from the scheme, more than twice that claimed in the same period the year before.

The March payout was more than four times bigger than in March 2008, when $5 million was paid to 720 retrenched workers.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the tough economic climate was beginning to hit sinesses.

The Budget predicts a deep recession and 8.5 per cent unemployment, so demands on the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme are likely to increase.

GEERS pays for up to 12 weeks’ unpaid wages and 16 weeks’ unpaid redundancy when companies go under.

The ACTU said the big jump in claims showed many firms were putting their workers last as they traded into insolvency.

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25497743-662,00.html

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