Disputes about employee entitlements

What are disputes about employee entitlements?

Employee entitlements include wages or salary (your pay), annual leave, long service leave, sick leave, redundancy pay, superannuation and other benefits.

Disputes about employee entitlements could relate to:

  • unpaid or incorrect wages or salary or your working conditions (e.g. entitlements such as annual leave, long service leave and sick leave)
  • failure by your employer to pay superannuation, withhold tax, or issue pay slips.

What you should do

Disputes about unpaid or incorrect wages or salary and working conditions

For disputes about your wages or salary, working conditions (e.g. leave) or workplace rights (e.g. if someone has tried to force you to sign an agreement), contact the Fair Work Ombudsman or call 13 13 94.

Failure to pay superannuation, withhold tax or issue pay slips

For failure by your employer to pay superannuation, withhold tax or issue pay slips, contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or call 13 28 61.

Finding out if the company is in liquidation or another form of external administration

If a company is in liquidation or another form of external administration, you will most likely have been contacted by the external administrator. If so, report your concerns to the external administrator as they are best placed to investigate them.

To check if a company is in liquidation or another form of external administration, you can search on ASIC Connect or search the insolvency notices.

See also Information Sheet 46 Liquidation: A guide for employees (INFO 46) and Information Sheet 75 Voluntary administration: A guide for employees (INFO 75).

Employee entitlements if the company is in liquidation or another form of external administration

Employees who are owed certain employee entitlements after losing their job because their employer went into external administration may be able to get financial help from the Australian Government.

This help is available through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme (FEG).

The FEG is a scheme of last resort, to assist employees who have lost their job because their employer entered liquidation on or after 5 December 2012. For more information visit the FEG website, call the FEG Hotline on 1300 135 040 or email FEG@employment.gov.au.

FEG does not cover unpaid superannuation contributions. To pursue your outstanding superannuation entitlements, you may wish to contact the Australian Taxation Office. For more information about unpaid superannuation contributions, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

ASIC and employee entitlements

If a company is in liquidation or another form of external administration, external administrators must report to ASIC if they suspect that anyone connected to the company may have committed an offence.

As there are a number of options available to employees and creditors to recover their money (see ‘What you should do’), any action we take will generally be aimed at punishing misconduct, rather than recovering individual entitlements.

Generally, we do not act for individuals and will only take action where it will result in a greater impact in the market and benefit the general public more broadly.

However, ASIC has the power to wind up a company on certain grounds related to assisting employees to access the FEG. For more information, see Regulatory Guide 242 ASIC's power to wind up abandoned companies (RG 242).

Requests to ASIC to wind up abandoned companies

ASIC can use its discretion to decide whether to wind up an abandoned company and is not required to wind up an abandoned company in every situation.

In considering when to exercise its power to wind up a company, ASIC’s primary consideration will be to facilitate employee access to the FEG.

ASIC will then consider how government funds are best utilised to determine whether or not to wind up a company.

ASIC generally will not reinstate a company that has been deregistered in order to wind it up.

Employees of abandoned companies who are owed employee entitlements can submit a request to ASIC to wind up the company, see Where ASIC can help under 'Employment: wages and conditions'.

Where can I get more information?

This is Information Sheet 160 (INFO 160), reissued on 1 September 2017. Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.

Information about whistleblowers

ASIC and whistleblowers

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Warren Day, Senior Executive Leader, Assessment and Intelligence talks about ASIC's role in relation to whisteblowers.

Read the transcript


The Corporations Act and whistleblowers

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How the Corporations Act recognises and protects whistleblowers.

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Fair Work Ombudsman

You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman if you would like to report someone who isn't complying with workplace laws or you need help in resolving a workplace issue.


Last updated: 01/09/2017 07:56