Dismissals and separation certificates

It is a contravention of the law for an employer not to provide a separation certificate to an employee who has requested one.

“Finally, during a telephone mention conducted on 28 July 2022, Mr Skurrie said that TSS had refused to provide him with a separation certificate. At the hearing, Mr Skurrie said that he had still not received a certificate from TSS. It would appear that the company may have committed an offence against the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (SSA Act). Section 199 of the SSA Act states that if a person’s employment ceases, the person may request the former employer to provide an employment statement in the prescribed form. Section 200(1) states that if a person makes a request under s 199, the former employer ‘must comply with the request as soon as practicable’. The penalty for an offence against s 200(1) is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months. I will advise the Commission’s General Manager of this matter so that he may consider whether to refer it to the relevant authorities.

I would add in this connection that it is not uncommon for workers to advise the Commission in the course of unfair dismissal and other proceedings that their requests for separation certificates have been ignored, with the consequence that it is difficult for them to obtain unemployment benefits. This conduct is completely unacceptable. One wonders whether the prospect of financial penalties for such conduct might prove to be more of a deterrent.”

Skurrie v TS Scaffolding Pty Ltd (2022) FWC 2072 delivered 5 August 2022 per Colman DP