Sunday, March 08, 2009

WORKPLACE: An update ...

It's a pain in the backside trying to keep up with the latest changes in Workplace Relations. The Rudd Government has introduced a new Workplace Bill, but it's currently before the Senate and no one quite knows where it will go from there. The Senate numbers are tight, and lobbyists are having a field day trying to puish through their proposed amendments that suit their clients and stakeholders.

So for what it's worth, here's an update:

[01] Some employees will be worse off under the Commonwealth's proposed changes to the federal award system. These employees will be able to apply for top-up payments. Employers aren't happy with this as they claim it will unnecessarily complicate the system.

[02] Fair Work Australia, the new mega-regulator, will enforce the top-up system. Transitional legislation will be introduced into Parliament in around a week's time. Don't expect an English language version to be introduced anytime soon. Transitional legislation is often easier to read when written in Chinese. At least that's what Kevin Rudd would probably say. And anyone who has tried to read and make sense of transitional legislation will probably agree with him.

[03] Employers are rather peeved they aren't getting their own top-up should they suffer increased costs from the system.

[04] The proposed new federal award system being worked through by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) will "modernise" around 4,000 state and federal awards, and could affect some 6 million workers. Hopefully these workers will still have jobs by the end of the process.

[05] According to the Fin Review story "Employers cry foul over cost of awards shake-up" dated Wednesday 4 March 09 (from which this update is largely taken), some awards have been released thus far, and some industries (pharmacy, retail and restaurant) are peeved they have to bear increased costs.

[06] There's some fear of demarcation disputes (as in turf wars between unions covering the same set of workers) which could increase as the Rudd government will allow state unions to register under the federal system.

I'll continue with these updates if for no other reason than that it forces me to keep updated!

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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