COMPLEX AWARDS ON GUVMNT’S IR AGENDA
HERE they go … they always have a Plan … Christian Porter is going to have a go at Awards in Hospitality and Retail …
Already it seems he signals they are ‘too complex’ … is that CODE for Wage Theft is caused by the Award?
Really it’s about how this Sector can better drive to the bottom …
It is a wonder Scomo and his Cohort don’t make it illegal/defamatory to use the words ‘Wage Theft’ … the Bill for it has passed $500M in the last 12 months!
HERE are some recent Headlines …
–Woolworths underpays staff $300 million
–SDA: LIST OF COMPANIES CAUGHT UNDERPAYING WORKERS
–Red Rooster staff owed thousands in wages and superannuation after seven stores shut down
–‘We are very sorry’: Bunnings underpaid staff super for almost 10 years
‘Complex’ awards on industrial relations agenda
- EXCLUSIVE EWIN HANNAN WORKPLACE EDITOR@EwinHannan
- NOVEMBER 22, 2019
- 75 COMMENTS
The nation’s award system will be reviewed next year, with Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter to examine longstanding business concerns that workplace arrangements in the hospitality, retail and restaurant sectors are too complex and need to be simplified.
A day after Scott Morrison said he wanted to reduce the complexity of the award system, Mr Porter said he would release a workplace relations discussion paper next year that would canvass options for improving its operation.
Mr Porter told The Australian that, while the Fair Work Commission’s process of modernising awards and reducing them to 122 was an “enormous improvement”, the award system was “clearly something a range of people believe could have some improvement”.
READ MORE: Unpaid wages bill hits $1.4bn annually | Streamlining awards will reap rewards | PM cuts ‘clutter’ on IR
“There are some awards — particularly those covering workers in hospitality, retail, restaurants — that may have a level of complication to them; some for example with more than 50 pay points,” he said.
Employers seized on the Prime Minister’s comments to renew their push for significant changes to awards, saying they accepted Mr Morrison’s call for business to make the case for change.
A recent raft of wage underpayment disclosures by employers have amplified calls by business groups for changes to the award system.
Australia’s publicly known worker underpayment bill recently soared past $500m, after supermarket giant Woolworths admitted underpaying almost 6000 employees by up to $300m over nine years. Other high-profile cases include 7-Eleven ($150m), Supercheap Retail ($32m), Michael Hill ($25m) and the ABC ($23m).
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said on Thursday employers were “fully behind the Prime Minister’s efforts to reduce the barriers and bottlenecks that are holding back Australian workers”. “We accept our responsibility for making the case to the community and to work collaboratively with the union movement to make sure we get it right,” she said.
The government announcement comes as it is set to release proposed amendments on Friday designed to win Senate crossbench support for its union-restricting Ensuring Integrity Bill.
Mr Porter will release amendments agreed with One Nation and Centre Alliance before putting the bill to a vote of the Senate next week.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus said Mr Morrison’s comments showed he wanted to pass the Ensuring Integrity Bill to shut down unions before he moved next year “to deliver to his big-business donors by taking away workers’ rights”.
“Prime Minister Morrison has issued a call to arms for the big-business lobby to sell to Australians that they are better off with less rights,” Ms McManus said.
Mr Porter said the government’s decision was “not an excuse for major employers like we have seen underpaying staff”.
“Large, sophisticated organisations should be able to work out what they need to pay their staff,’’ he said.
“For small business, I think one issue worthy of some consideration is the quality of information available from government through agencies … to help them understand awards and get things right under specific awards.”
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the government should consider removing standard clauses from awards and enshrining them in the Fair Work Act. He said possible examples included annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, redundancy pay, notice of termination, consultation, dispute resolution, flexibility agreements and requests for flexible work arrangements.
“No doubt those who oppose this idea will highlight a few existing award entitlements like the additional week of annual leave in the nurses’ award, the annual leave loading provisions in awards, and the industry-specific redundancy scheme in the construction award,” Mr Willox said.
“However, with careful drafting of legislative provisions it should be possible to ensure that neither employers or employees are disadvantaged by any changes to include more entitlements in the Fair Work Act and to simplify the content of awards.”
Ms McManus said Mr Morrison had revealed his industrial relations agenda to be about cutting pay and the rights of workers.
“All this in a week where two of the big banks have been exposed for record-breaking criminal wrongdoing,” she said. “Despite their systemic criminal breaches, Prime Minister Morrison refuses to tackle corporate wrongdoing and is building up yet another attack on working people.”
Australian Payroll Association chief executive Tracy Angwin said she believed the workplace relations system was complex but that was not an excuse for employers to be underpaying staff.
Data released by the association on Thursday revealed that 83 per cent of 1831 surveyed organisations had not updated their payroll technology since 2000.
‘THE AUSTRALIAN’ allowed CAAN A copy of this article!