Zahra calls for overhaul of retail awards

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 15 : 25-May-20

Retail sector employees are covered by 122 separate industry awards, and Australian Retailers Association CEO says this should be reduced as part of the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Zahra has also urged greater flexibility with regard to stores’ trading hours and penalty rates in the sector. He argues that the complexity of the awards system is contributing to the growing problem of wage underpayments in the retail sector. Zahra warns that retail sales could fall sharply when the JobKeeper scheme is phased out in September.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION

Casual benefits ruling raises JobKeeper risk

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 22-May-20

Employers may face claims for up to $8bn in back pay following the Federal Court’s ruling that casual workers who have ‘regular and predictable shifts’ are entitled to paid leave and a 25 per cent loading. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has flagged government action in response to the ruling, saying one option may be to give more casual workers the right to request that their jobs become permanent. Council of Small Business Organisations CEO Peter Strong says the ruling will deter small businesses from hiring casual workers, while Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warns of the potential for large-scale job losses when the JobKeeper scheme ends in September.

CORPORATES
FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Time ripe for urgent IR repairs: employers

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Joe Kelly
The Australian – Page: 2 : 19-May-20

The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry has proposed five changes to the industrial relations system to create jobs and boost productivity in the post-coronavirus work environment. Amongst other things, ACCI CEO James Pearson has called for employee stand-down provisions to be extended until March 2021, while companies should be permitted to stagger the times at which employees start and finish work without incurring overtime payments. Pearson has outlined his suggestions in a letter to Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, ACTU

PM’s post-pandemic powerplay

Original article by Simon Benson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 18-May-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stressed the need for greater workplace flexibility in the post-coronavirus environment, in order to boost the economy and get people back to work. He says that employers, workers, unions and government must co-operate in delivering the reforms that are needed in the wake of the pandemic. Morrison is optimistic that the union movement will continue to work constructively with the government, although he does not have similar expectations from Labor. Morrison adds that the immediate priority is to ensure that Australia does not face a second wave of coronavirus infections as lockdown restrictions are eased.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Pandemic pain to hit wage rises

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 15-May-20

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson says the latest jobs data underlines the need for the minimum wage to remain unchanged in 2020. He warns that an increase in the minimum wage would jeopardise more jobs. Fair Work Commission president Ian Ross has flagged the possibility that a minimum wage rise could be delayed for companies that are receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy. However, the ACTU opposes any delay; it is pushing for a minimum wage rise of four per cent, or $30 a week.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU

COVID to outlast support for IR reform

Original article by Jennifer Hewett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 12-May-20

It is unlikely that the co-operation between employers, unions and the federal government during the COVID-19 crisis will last long enough to bring about much-needed change to Australia’s industrial relations system. Federal Labor has already shown indications along these lines with its push to disallow regulations that temporarily cut the negotiating period for changes to enterprise agreements. Although few would argue that the enterprise bargaining system was not already in crisis even before COVID-19, the federal government is yet to outline what it sees as necessary in terms of industrial relations reform.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Employers want power over app

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Stephen Lunn
The Australian – Page: 5 : 7-May-20

The federal government has advised that its CovidSafe app has now been downloaded 5.1 million times. Meanwhile, the rights of employees with regard to the app is under scrutiny. Stephen Cartwright, the CEO of the NSW Business Chamber, says employers should have a legal right to require staff to download the app as a condition of returning to work when lockdown restrictions are eased. ACTU secretary Sally McManus contends that employers should not have the power to force workers to download the app.

CORPORATES
NSW BUSINESS CHAMBER LIMITED, ACTU

ACTU wage bid ‘damaging’, puts recovery at risk

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 6-May-20

The ACTU has called for the minimum wage to be increased by four per cent in 2020, or $30 a week. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has warned that the ACTU’s wage claim could jeopardise Australia’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry contends that it would increase the financial strain on businesses that are already battling during the crisis.

CORPORATES
ACTU, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

Business Council backs Gary Banks on critical IR reform

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 5-May-20

There has been a mixed response to a call by former Productivity Commission chairman Gary Banks to make industrial relations reform a priority in the wake of the pandemic. Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott supports his proposal to revisit the recommendations of the PC’s 2014 inquiry into the IR system, particularly those regarding the Fair Work Act’s ‘better-off-overall test’. However, University of Melbourne labour economist Jeff Borland has questioned the benefits of major IR changes, while the ACTU also opposes any such reforms.

CORPORATES
BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, ACTU

Porter seeks Hawke-style accord with unions to spark a recovery

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Greg Brown, Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 4 : 23-Apr-20

Council of Small Business Organisations CEO Peter Strong has called for the industrial awards system to be abolished, while Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says awards should be retained but simplified. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has signalled that workplace reform will be on the federal government’s agenda. He hopes to build on recent good relations with ACTU secretary Sally McManus to have constructive discussions with union leaders regarding workplace reforms aimed at creating jobs and boosting wages when the coronavirus abates.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF EMPLOYMENT, SKILLS, SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ACTU