Industrial Relations Reform Welcomed, But Needs To Be More Than A Brainstorming Session

Published May 27, 2020 (last updated July 21, 2020) -

Employsure has welcomed the announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Australia’s industrial relations system is set for reform, but warns that a “decision by committee” approach could jeopardise the clarity that business owners desperately need.

The JobMaker announcement is a sensible acknowledgement that the country’s economy cannot remain on life support, and that Australia’s existing workplace relations system will be a barrier to creating the jobs that Australia needs to recover.

“This is a solid first step, but now we need the roadmap. Employers and small business owners need clarity, not broad promises, sweeping statements or decision paralysis,” said Ed Mallett, Employsure Founder and Managing Director. “This is the chance to deliver the changes employers so desperately need.

“Just last week we saw a contentious decision that effectively allows casual workers to double dip on entitlements. It’s these kinds of situations that need to be urgently addressed.

“Sensible, practical workplace relations should be the framework for business recovery. Reform is not easy, and it will take vision and leadership to drive change. Now we’ve seen the vision, it needs to translate into action.”

“This is a chance for the Government to deliver real change in workplace relations. Reform can sometimes be met with resistance, but if we can bring all parts of the labour force together to have constructive conversations, we can work on a reform solution that benefits everyone.”

Employsure is calling for a review of the current industrial relations laws to identify any overlap in Modern Awards with the view to consolidating legislation where necessary. This would reduce compliance and red tape requirements, as well as the risk of oversights, errors and penalties to small business owners.

“Award simplification is long overdue. “There are more than 120 Modern Awards in the Australian workplace relations system. For some businesses, even small ones, it means they often have to comply with more than one Award. It is not just the minimum wage or award rate that’s the most difficult part, but many employees struggle with the myriad of entitlements, and varying rates throughout the time of week and time of day.

“The Prime Minister has stated what we’ve known all along – that the workplace relations system isn’t fit-for-purpose. Every month that the Government delays reform, means more small business owners are closing their doors. We don’t need brainstorming, we need action.”

Employsure consultants conduct 1,500 face-to-face meetings per week with small businesses, and its dedicated Advice Line handles more than 270,000 calls every year helping small business owners understand their workplace relations obligations.

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