We look at some of the key Industrial Relations policies ahead of the federal election.
With the federal election this Saturday, we thought we would look at some of the key Industrial Relations (IR) policies to answer, ‘How will the election impact your business?’
Liberal-National Coalition: Key policies
The Coalition has stated they intend to reintroduce key IR reforms contained in the 2021 Industrial Relations Omnibus Bill. Last year, the government implemented a few of these changes, including:
- The way temps and casuals are classified.
- Casual conversions.
- Liability offset provisions.
A few of the key IR reforms that were also part of this 2021 Bill that they hope to reintroduce in 2022 include:
- Additional hours agreements, so part-time workers can choose to work more hours without overtime.
- More federal offences for deliberate underpayment of employees.
Other policies include:
- Greenfield agreements: Extending the length of Greenfield Agreements from four to six years for projects over $500 million.
- Labour hire regulation: Creating a single national scheme.
- Religious Discrimination Bill: It will be made unlawful to discriminate based on religion when making hiring decisions. However, religious bodies would be allowed to show a preference for an individual based on religion.
Labor: Key policies
The IR policies Labor is bringing to this election are based on their Secure Australian Jobs Plan. This includes:
- Job security: Legislating job security by adding it as a key objective in the Fair Work Act.
- Pay equity: Legislating pay equity by adding it as a key objective in the Fair Work Act.
- Gig workers: Extending the power of the Federal Work Commission to include gig workers (and similar “employee-like” work).
- Pay increases for women: Extending the power of the Federal Work Commission to order pay increases for low-paid, female-dominated industries in a bid to close the gender pay gap.
- Casual employment: Redefining casual employment.
- Same Job, Same Pay Bill: Seeking to give workers employed through Labour Hire Companies the same pay as workers employed directly by the company.
- National Labour Hire Scheme: Creating a National Labour Hire Licensing Scheme.
- Limitations for fixed-term contracts: Amending the Fair Work by limiting contract renewal to two or fixing the maximum duration to two years.
- National long service leave scheme: Creating a scheme specifically applicable to industry workers who usually move from contract to contract, like those in mining or construction.
- Wage theft: Making wage theft a criminal offence.
- Respect@Work: Implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work Report which helps organisations prevent and respond to workplace sexual harassment. See also: How we can support women in the workplace.
Labor has also stated they want the government to be an example of a model employer. They say they will cut government consulting and contracting spending by $3 billion over four years. They also say they will add 1,000 permanent positions to Services Australia, Veterans’ Affairs and the NDIS.
How will the election impact your business?
This is not an exhaustive policy list, and we have limited our review to the two main national parties. How you determine the effect of these policies on your business and your life, is a deeply personal decision. We respect everyone’s right to vote free from persuasion or judgement.
If you would like to access more information on the policies we have referenced above, we implore you to refer to the RCSA’s Policy Summary.