Hardship payments available to eligible severance members
As of 23 September 2021, the potential to access your severance funds due to stand down events, while remaining employed, have increased.
- The number of hardship payments you may claim
- The time period between claims
We have negotiated with the ATO to provide up to three hardship payments per stand down event. These claims can be submitted two weeks apart, using our online application form
Members are reminded that there is a hardship payment available to eligible severance members who are stood down during COVID restrictions but remain employed and therefore ineligible to claim redundancy or termination.
To help counter the financial hardship caused by COVID-19, Protect was granted Tax Office approval to make a hardship payment (stand down payment) from the severance account balance of some workers who have been stood down but remain employed.
These payments are deducted from the severance account balance of members and rely on them having sufficient funds in their account. ACCESS THE HARDSHIP PAYMENT APPLICATION FORM HERE
How do I qualify?
To be eligible, workers must:
- Have a Protect severance account with sufficient funds
- Have been stood down by a Protect contributing employer without pay, but remain employed
- Not be relying on other forms of payment (excluding JobKeeper).
How much money can I access?
Eligible employed members can make three applications to withdraw funds as hardship payments if they’re stood down due to COVID-19. You may withdraw up to $2,000 each time with two weeks between claims.
Are hardship payments taxed?
Tax rates are set by the Australian Taxation Office. The only claims that are paid with a tax free component are those due to genuine redundancy. Protect withholds 32% tax from hardship payments. Additional tax may be payable by you when you lodge your tax return if your marginal tax rate is higher than this rate. Therefore, if you were to claim $2,000 from your Protect account as a hardship payment, the maximum you would receive in your bank account is $1,360 due to tax.
How do I apply?
Members must complete a hardship payment application form only available on our website and not from the Protect App. Claims are then processed within three days.
Why do I have to be employed to access a hardship payment?
Where a worker is terminated and is unemployed, a termination or redundancy payment would apply, allowing for greater access to your account. For information on making a termination or redundancy claim, please visit our claim page.
Do the latest changes to Protect hardship payments mean that I can apply again?
Yes. If you exceeded your claim capacity before the ATO granted our requested improvements on 23 September 2021, and you remain eligible to lodge a claim for a hardship payment, you should apply again.
"The ETU worked hard with Protect in early 2020 to change the rules of the Fund so as to allow members to access stand down (hardship) payments.
Payments have been made available to Protect members who are stood down without pay or who experience financial hardship due to COVID-19.
These hardship payments help many members get through the financial shock of widespread stand downs during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
This experience once again demonstrates the importance of our industry schemes like Protect in providing an additional safety net for members - in normal times and when a once-in-a-100-year event strikes."
Electrical Trades Union of Australia Victorian Branch
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Protect counselling is a free confidential service for individuals seeking support, as well as employers and workers wanting advice on the best method to assist colleagues dealing with a range of concerns: