Opposition votes against removing ‘pay-clerk’ requirement on paid parental leave; ACCC targets ALDI mobile: Midday Roundup

The federal Labor opposition has voted against government legislation to remove the compulsory “pay-clerk” requirement of the paid parental leave scheme, according to a statement from Small Business Minister Bruce Billson.

Under current arrangements, employers are required to administer employee parental leave payments. The government sought to change the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013so that Centrelink would take over administering parental leave payments. According to Billson, the change would mean a $44 million reduction in red tape.

This is the third time Labor has opted to oppose the change, instead seeking to limit the ‘pay-clerk’ function to businesses which employ fewer than 20 people.

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the opposition and Greens to support the government’s legislation, saying in a statement this week parental leave payments should be administered by the government not businesses.

“We don’t understand why there is opposition to this proposal or why it has been suggested that there should be a distinction between a business with 19 employees and one with 20 employees,” VECCI chief executive Mark Stone says.

ALDI mobile package change after ACCC concerns

Telecommunications company Medion Australia has undertaken to change the way one of its pre-paid mobile products is advertised and sold in response to concerns from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over misleading conduct.

Between September and November 2013, Medion advertised an ‘Unlimited Pack’ pre-paid mobile phone product on the ALDImobile website, offering customers 30 days of unlimited voice calls, voicemail, SMS and MMS.

However, the ACCC took issue with the ‘unlimited’ representations used by the company as the pack contained daily, three day and 30 day usage restrictions on voice calls, SMS and MMS in its Acceptable Use Policy.

According to a statement from the ACCC, Medion has admitted to likely engaging in misleading conduct and making false or misleading representations, and has changed the name of the product to “$35 Plan”, removed the description from the ALDImobile website and in-store advertising and provided a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC. The undertaking requires the company to publish a corrective notice on the website for 30 days, establish a two-year competition and consumer law compliance program and refrain from similar conduct for three years.

Medion supplies mobile products and services under the ALDImobile brand name on the ALDImobile website and in ALDI stores, but is not a related entity of the ALDI stores.

Retail trade up in January

In good news for retailers, seasonally adjusted statistics show retail turnover rose 1.2% in January, following a rise of 0.7% in December.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show department store turnover was boosted by 2.6%. Spend in restaurant and takeaway food services was also up, increasing 2%, and the other retailing, goods retailing and clothing, footwear and personal accessories also saw significant growth.

New South Wales saw the highest spending growth of the states, with retail turnover up 2.1%, but this was offset by a fall in the Australian Capital Territory of 1.9%.

Shares fall on open

Aussie shares have opened slightly lower this morning, following minor losses on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 6.6 points to 5439.6 at 12:01pm AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 35.70 points lower, down 0.22% to 16,360.18.


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