Helping retrenched employees
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Helping retrenched employees

Help & advice


Facing retrenchment?

Many Victorians are facing changes in their working lives. The changing economy means that some people will need to move into new jobs through no fault of their own.

Making the transition to a new role can be daunting. Initially, it will be a shock for a person to find they may be losing their current role. Where do they start to find a new job? What’s the right job? Do they need extra training?

There’s lots of support to help workers facing retrenchment make a move into a new role. This website can help them think about what job might be right for them, what training they might need and where to find it. They can also find out if they could be eligible for financial assistance.

Coping emotionally

Losing a job and working reduced hours are big life changes that are likely to make people feel upset, anxious and concerned about the future. Coping with job loss may leave a person disoriented when the familiar structure of their days and weeks is gone. Some people experience feelings of anxiety and depression. This is very normal. It’s important for them to share their feelings with the people who care about them, and get in touch with people and services that can help. Help with the emotional adjustment is also available from other sources (including a GP, Beyond Blue and Lifeline).

Thinking about a new job

To start with, a worker facing retrenchment might want to consider where the jobs of the future are likely to be. They can check the list of jobs that we think are going to need more workers in the next five years. Clicking on the links will take them to a description of the job, case studies and information on how to find training that’s related to the job.

Find training options

If they know what they’d like to do, they can search​ for courses. The search is easy to use and they don’t have to know the exact name of the course they’re interested in to get started.

They can also find courses by looking for an occ​upation they’re interested in and then looking at the related courses.

Once they have an idea of the course they’d like to do, they can see which training providers offer that course. They will need to contact them directly and can use the handy checklist to help them decide which training provider is right for them.

If they aren't sure if they are ready to start training at an RTO, Learn Local can be a great place to start. Learn Local organisations provide the chance to learn new skills through adult community education and training programs. They specialise in delivering training designed to help students to gain confidence and the fundamental skills that will lead to further training opportunities and employment. They can search for a Learn Local organisation in their area, hear stories from learners and see the type of courses that are available on the Learn Local website.

Help with training costs

A worker facing retrenchment might need to do some training to move into a new job and they might be eligible for government-subsidised training in a range of qualifications. If they’re eligible, the government will contribute to the cost of their training. They can answer some simple questions here to see if they might be eligible. They will need to talk to a Registered Training Organisation to find out if they’re eligible for the course they want to do.

There are other forms of financial assistance, so visit the Fees, funding and financial support page for more information.

Skills and Jobs Centres

The Government has funded TAFES to establish one-stop-shop Skills and Jobs​ Centres which will liaise directly with local employers, co-locate facilities, and provide services for prospective students, employers, apprentices, trainees, and unemployed or transitioning workers.

The Centres will have trained staff who can guide you through careers advice and training and retraining opportunities. The Centre is not a recruitment agency or an employer, but it is a great starting point for help and referral to other services.

It is a friendly place with private work stations for you to use, including computers to access online resources and tools.

Staff can help you to answer questions such as:

  • What training is right for me?
  • How do I get started?
  • What’s the right job for me?
  • What other assistance is available?
  • What workforce development opportunities are there for my business?

The Centre will also offer services such as:

  • Careers’ advice and counselling
  • Information on potential jobs and relevant training courses
  • Skills assessment
  • Industry skills needs
  • Workshops to improve your skills and learn about employment opportunities
  • Meeting with local employers
  • Referrals to support services such as: careers and employment, education and training, welfare, financial guidance including superannuation, disability
  • Talks and seminars presented by community groups and employers

For updates please see: Skills and Jobs Centres.

More information and assistance

The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments provide a number of forms of financial support and assistance for people who have been retrenched. This section highlights entitlements for which a person may be eligible, depending on their circumstances.

If a person loses their job through retrenchment, some financial assistance may be available through the Commonwealth Department of Human Services. So the first step should be to register with them as soon as possible.

The individual cannot forget to make sure they are issued with a Certificate of Separation from their last employer. The Commonwealth Department of Human Services needs this document to assess their eligibility for payment.

Individuals can register and check eligibility by calling 13 28 50 if they are 22 years of age or older, or 13 24 90 if they are under 22 years of age, or go to the Department of Human Services website.

Family Assistance Office

The Family Assistance Office offers a range of payments to support families with their work and family responsibilities. It provides financial assistance and information to families including how to access and apply for:

  • Family Tax Benefit A and B
  • Child Care Benefit
  • Child Care Rebate
  • Health Care Cards
  • Rent Assistance

For more information, individuals can call the Centrelink Families and Parents Line on 13 61 50 or visit the Families section of the Human Services website.

Child support

If a worker facing retrenchment has children and there are changes in their income or care arrangements, they may need to change their details with the Commonwealth Department of Human Services.

For more information, they can call 13 12 72 or see the Child Support section of the Human Resources website.

Money management is a major strain for many workers during times of retrenchment.

The Commonwealth Department of Human Services provides a free Financial Information Service (FIS). Individuals do not need to be claiming a Centrelink benefit to access this service. They can speak to a FIS officer by calling 13 23 00 and choosing the ‘other query’ option.


MoneyHelp provides free, confidential and independent financial advice to Victorians who are facing job loss or reduced working hours. The service is also available to people who are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent. MoneyHelp can provide support with information and tools to help:

  • manage bills and debts
  • prepare a budget
  • compare debt payment options
  • take financial control
  • register for Commonwealth Department of Human Services entitlements.

To access MoneyHelp individuals can call the helpline on 1800 149 689 or visit MoneyHelp.

Retrenchment and the law

Legislation is in place that determines and regulates eligibility for redundancy and other payments in the event of an employer terminating employment, or beginning retrenchments.

For more information regarding fair work practices, unfair dismissal, general work practices and workplace legislation people can call the Commonwealth Government’s Fair Work information line on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Commission website.

Fair Entitlements Guarantee​

Through the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG), the Commonwealth Government provides financial assistance to cover certain unpaid employment entitlements to eligible employees who lose their job due to the liquidation or bankruptcy of their employer. If workers facing retrenchment are owed entitlements, FEG can help them claim from these employers.

For more information individuals can call 1300 135 040 or go to the FEG section of the Commonwealth Department of Employment website.

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