FWC queries unions’ living wage

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 16-May-19

The Fair Work Commission heard the final day of evidence in its review of the minimum wage on 15 May. The ACTU wants the minimum wage to be increased to 60 per cent of median earnings over two years, in order to lift all workers out of poverty. FWC President Iain Ross warned that doing so could result in pay increases for all workers on the minimum wage, rather than just those living below the poverty line. He also said the tax and transfer system could be a more efficient way to address the issue of poverty than an increase in the minimum wage. The FWC’s decision on the minimum wage is expected to be announced by the end of May.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Employers fear payroll nightmare

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 15-May-19

The Fair Work Commission is expected to make a ruling on the minimum wage before the end of May. However, employers’ groups have warned of the potential payroll complications if Labor wins the federal election and pushes ahead with plans to make a new wage submission immediately upon taking office. Any increase in the minimum wage will take effect from 1 July, and Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO James Pearson has expressed concern that employers will not have enough time to apply the new pay rates if Labor seeks to make a new submission to the FWC.

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

Labor’s penalty rates a triple hit for retailers

Original article by David Marin-Guzman
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 29-Apr-19

Labor will seek to reverse cuts to Sunday penalty rates within 100 days if it wins the federal election. The Australian Retailers Association has estimated that this would see wages rise by as much as 21 per cent for weekend workers. Cuts to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates are being phased in over four years by the Fair Work Commission to ease the impact on employees, but shadow Employment Minister Brendan O’Connor says it will reverse the cuts "in a single hit". Employers’ groups have called for greater consultation over Labor’s plans, while employment law professor Andrew Stewart has cautioned Labor about trying to rush legislation on the issue.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP

Fightback on penalty rates

Original article by Ben Packham, Dennis Shanahan, Alice Workman
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 22-Apr-19

Labor plans to reconvene federal parliament before 30 June if it wins the election, in order to capitalise on a Senate that may be more amenable to its proposed industrial relations reforms. Amongst other things, Labor intends to reverse cuts to penalty rates within its first 100 days in office. However, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has written to Senate crossbenchers warning that Labor’s workplace reforms would require more extensive consultation than would be possible by the end of June.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, CENTRE ALLIANCE

Minimum wage is living wage by UK standard

Original article by David A Harvey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 5-Apr-19

The federal government has used its submission to the Fair Work Commission to argue that the minimum wage is now about 61 per cent of the median wage when the earnings of both full-time and part-time employees are taken into account. This is the benchmark used in the UK to determine that country’s living wage. In contrast, the ACTU wants a living wage to be based on the median earnings of full-time workers. The ACTU is seeking a six per cent increase in the minimum wage in 2018 and a further rise of 5.5 per cent in 2020.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, GREAT BRITAIN. LOW PAY COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Living wage for 1.2m in Labor pitch

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 26-Mar-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has indicated that Labor’s living wage policy would boost the income of low-income earners from mid-2020. Details of the policy will be announced on 26 March, but Shorten has signalled that the living wage will apply only to people on the minimum wage rather than workers who are on award wages. Shorten also says Labor will legislate to require the Fair Work Commission to take into account a broader range of factors than at present in setting the living wage. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox is among the critics of Labor’s living wage policy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, ACTU

Labor push on minimum wage will hurt those it’s meant to help

Original article by Kurt Wallace
The Australian – Page: 14 : 22-Mar-19

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has committed to raising the minimum wage to become a "living wage" if Labor wins the 2019 election. The ACTU has stated that a living wage is needed so that no full-time worker is living in poverty, but under its definition of what is poor, someone earning $42,000 a year would be deemed to be living in poverty; many would take issue at this definition. Research based on the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey suggests that poverty is on the decline, while introducing a living wage will result in less jobs and fewer hours worked.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS LIMITED, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE. INSTITUTE OF APPLIED ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH

Wage rise will cost jobs: retailers

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 2 : 19-Mar-19

Master Grocers Australia has urged the Fair Work Commission to limit the 2019 increase in the minimum wage to 1.2 per cent, which equates to $8.60 a week. It warns that a large increase in the minimum wage would force independent retailers to cut staff numbers or allocate more shifts to junior employees. The ACTU is pushing for the minimum wage to be increased by $43 a week, while the Victorian and Queensland governments have called for it to be increased by $40.66 and $25 a week respectively.

CORPORATES
MASTER GROCERS’ AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, IGA, FOODWORKS SUPERMARKET GROUP LIMITED, CELLARBRATIONS, THE BOTTLE-O, DUNCAN’S LIQUOR

Kelty warns ALP on wages

Original article by Troy Bramston, Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 15-Mar-19

Labor will use its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s review of the minimum wage to push for an above-inflation increase in 2019. Meanwhile, former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty says any increase in the minimum wage must reflect the economy’s capacity to absorb it. He adds that a rise in the minimum wage must be linked to productivity gains. Kelty also supports Labor’s proposal for a living wage, stating that it would benefit the economy and make enterprise bargaining more effective.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, ACTU, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, NATIONAL RETAIL ASSOCIATION LIMITED

Call to freeze wages for low-paid

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 14-Mar-19

Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Juliana Payne has warned that the ACTU’s push to increase the minimum wage to 60 per cent of median earnings will result in job cuts. She says there should be no increase in the minimum wage in 2019 due to the above-inflation increases of recent years, and notes that the sector cannot pass on the cost of wage rises to customers. Meanwhile, the Australian Retailers ­Association supports a 1.8 per cent increase in the minimum wage, although a survey has found that about 50 per cent of its members favour leaving it unchanged in 2019.

CORPORATES
RESTAURANT AND CATERING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN RETAILERS ASSOCIATION, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION