In last week’s bulletin, we looked at four areas of workplace relations that we may expect the Federal Labor Government to reform:
- insecure work; and
- Commonwealth government employment and procurement.
But this isn’t all the change we might see with the incoming government.
So, what happens next?
The Federal Labor Government will convene a National Employment Summit comprising industry groups and unions. At the Summit, reforms targeting insecure work and improving enterprise bargaining frameworks will be discussed. It will most likely canvass some of the ideas in which Labor has previously expressed interest, including:
- stronger good faith bargaining principles;
- greater access to arbitration of disputes;
- multi-employer agreements;
- preventing unilateral termination of collective agreements where this reduces employee entitlements;
- ensuring enterprise agreements can only be made by a ‘representative cohort’ of employees; and
- enterprise bargaining for ’employment-like’ workers and independent contractors.
The Federal Government will also commission a white paper to develop possible labour market reforms to promote secure work and higher wages.
The Federal Government will consult with unions, industry groups, and state and territory governments (all but one of which are Labor governments) about:
- Commonwealth wage theft laws that will not override existing state and territory laws where they currently operate; and
- portable entitlement schemes for Australians in industries characterised by insecure work.
Finally, the Federal Government will:
- implement all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work Report, including the implementation of the positive duty on employers in the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to take reasonable steps to eliminate sexual harassment; and
- amend the National Employment Standards to provide for an entitlement to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave per year. This will supplement the recent decision of the Fair Work Commission to amend modern awards to provide for this entitlement.