Legal

Labor introduces new IR laws

SmartCompany /

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has introduced the Government’s new industrial relations legislation, effectively bringing an end to the former government’s WorkChoices plan.

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has introduced the Government’s new industrial relations legislation, effectively bringing an end to the former government’s WorkChoices plan.

In Parliament today, Gillard explained the new legislation – dubbed the Fair Work Bill – will not have unanimous support.

“I’m expecting that you’ll hear from some employer representatives who say that it goes too far, you’ll hear from some union representatives who say that it hasn’t gone far enough,” she says.

“This represents a balanced approach and gives fair rights to working people.”

The new legislation mandates 10 minimum conditions, or National Employment Standards.

But workers earning under $100,000 are guaranteed an additional 10 provisions, which include penalty rates. These extra provisions may be taken away through bargaining agreements, but employees must be no worse off, according to the new laws.

A new aspect of the bill is compulsory bargaining, which mandates employers must come to the bargaining table if the majority of workers want to negotiate.

But while the laws introduce new workplace standards, aspects of the former WorkChoices plan remain.

While right of entry provisions for unions have been reinstated, they must give prior notice and meetings must take place outside of work hours.

Workers will suffer a minimum reduction of half a day’s pay for action taken outside of a bargaining period, while secret ballots voting for strikes will also remain.

While individual work agreements – such as AWAs – will be outlawed, workers may retain their current individual agreement if they wish.

A new official body – Fair Work Australia – will gauge workers’ reaction to the legislation. The Government hopes to have the laws passed by early next year.

Advertisement
SmartCompany

SmartCompany is the leading online publication in Australia for free news, information and resources catering to Australia’s entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners and business managers.

We Recommend

FROM AROUND THE WEB