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The Impact of Raising The Minimum Wage

While from the U.S.,this discussion on Bloomberg TV is well worth watching.

Nela Richardson discusses the possible implications of raising the minimum wage with Scarlet Fu and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.

Impact of Raising The Minimum Wage

The embed function is currently not working. Please click the above link to access the video. Our apologies for the inconvenience.


Employment and Productivity

Saturday’s Australian contained two important articles from David Uren and Adam Creighton (Kevin Rudd Revives Failed Productivity Pledge) and Judith Sloan (Job Creation No Government Miracle).

These pieces address the message the HRN Society is trying to get across, namely, how  under the present government productivity and employment growth has been lower than under the previous government even though the economy has been growing at or around trend. In particular, the Sloan article draws attention not only to these points but to the fact that the work force (those who are officially employed or unemployed) has been growing slower than the proportion of those of working age (15-64). This means that people (particularly low skilled) have been dropping out of the work force altogether – too hard to get a job so let’s retire or live on welfare. Read more

When Labour Lawyers Get Together

Des Moore Write:

As some will already be aware, Workplace Express (WE) is an organisation which publishes daily reports on decisions made by the Fair Work Commission and by courts on workplace relations. It also publishes reports on events where presentations are made on workplace relations issues.

On 22 July WE published reports on the annual labour law conference held at the Hilton in Sydney under the auspices  of the University of Sydney’s Workplace Research Centre.  One of the eleven speakers was Josh Bornstein, a Principal of Maurice Blackburn and a  self-described “employment lawyer”. Bornstein is well-known  as a strong supporter of the regulatory system and as a critic of any who oppose that approach. On this occasion he did not hold back.

Below are the WE report of the speech by Bornstein and of my critique (made after forcing myself to read the full text). WE agreed to publish my critique after I contacted it and pointed out that Bornstein had made an error in his calculation of the increase in productivity over the past year. An AMMA official, Scott Barklamb (just back from a spell at the ILO), apparently also complained to WE about aspects of the Bornstein address and he (Scott) makes some very useful additional criticisms.

Given the current state of our universities, it is not surprising that even though the University of Sydney has a Workplace Research Centre, it appears to have arranged this conference without inviting speakers who advocate a deregulated system. Almost all the speakers appear to be regulator advocates or sympathisers, although the title for this year’s conference  “Beyond ‘Groundhog Day’: Can productivity and fairness be improved without further ‘labour law reform’?” suggests that even those advocates may be thinking it has gone far enough.

Read more

AMMA Releases IR Scorecard

The Australian Mines and Metals Association has released their annual scorecard rating The Coalition, Labor and the Australian Greens on their IR Policies.

AMMA’s 2013 election scorecard measures the three parties against 10 criteria that it says would contribute to positive workplace relations for the resources industry. The Coalition scored 73% – up from 60% in 2010 – but the ALP’s results dropped from 60% to 46% over the same period. The Greens managed just 19%, a 10% fall.

Click HERE to read the full report and HERE to read a presentation made on behalf of AMMA at our recent conference on the rising costs of doing business under the Fair Work Act.

A House Built On Sand

This is a paper presented by HR Nicholls Society Board Member Kyle Kutasi at the 2013 Annual Conference on Recent developments in American Labour Law and what they mean for Australia:

Recent developments in American Labour Law and what they mean for Australia

Thank you once again to the H.R. Nicholls Society for allowing me to present this paper at what is the Society’s 33rd Conference. Who would have thought we’d have made it this far?!

In a large number of areas of law, Australians have a tendency to compare our laws and regulations to those in other parts of the world. Strangely though, few, if any, Australians – including the lawyers and politicians – have any awareness of comparative labour laws.

This paper therefore began life as a basic study in how the United States regulates the employer-employee relationships within its borders. The US is as good a place to start as any other, as its culture and institutions are very similar to ours, and we often follow trends that originated there. What I found in my research is that there are many good reasons for our ignorance of comparative labour law: in many respects, Australia is an ‘island’ with its unique system that makes comparison difficult; but in other ways, there is much that can be learned from our American cousins, few of which bode well for Australia’s industrial future. Read more

Soaring Rates of Absenteeism In Bureaucracy

The Australian reports:

New figures from the Productivity Commission show absenteeism in the federal public service has soared by 20 per cent in a decade.

The commission reckons the median absence for each of the nation’s 170,000 public servants is now 11.1 days…
Across the board the cost of this absenteeism is about $28 billion per annum in Australia at a rate of $2861 per employee per year, according to Direct Health Solutions.