Major employer body the Ai Group has called for fresh thinking on industrial relations to help rather than hinder employers taking on more staff as we emerge from the Covid-19 andemic.
AiG Chief Executive, Innes Willox said: “Now is not the time for tired old arguments about IR reform.
“What is needed is fresh thinking and a new approach, aimed at boosting productivity, growing jobs, encouraging investment and restoring economic growth.”
Willox said decisions made by the Federal and State Governments on reform options will play a big role in determining how long the recovery period will be.
“IR reform has an important role to play in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, the much talked about “V” shaped recovery from the crisis is unlikely.
“Far more likely is a period of high unemployment and underemployment, and a struggle to restore economic growth.”
Willox is in a position to influence reform as a member of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.
He is also on the commission taskforce examining the manufacturing sector.
Three key areas for reform:
1. Australia’s award system:
# Removing matters from awards that are largely dealt with in legislation, such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, redundancy pay and public holidays.
# Amending the Act to remove barriers to award flexibility.
2. Australia’s enterprise bargaining system:
# Replacing the current Better Off Overall Test, which has often proved to be unworkable, with a No Disadvantage Test.
# Implementing new objectives for the enterprise agreement approval process which reinforce the importance of employers and employees being able to reach agreements that suit their needs.
# Preventing unions intervening in the approval of an enterprise agreement unless they are representing any of the employees covered by the agreement.
# Overcoming the current minefield that exists regarding the obligations upon an employer to explain the terms of a proposed agreement before the employees vote.
3. Casual employment:
# The Fair Work Act needs to be amended to define a casual employee in a simple and clear manner to address the uncertainty caused by the Federal Court’s Workpac v Skene decision.
Willox said: “A much more productive and flexible IR system can be achieved, without compromising fairness.
Full details here.
Picture: Innes Willox
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