Review into Penalty Rates and the Minimum Wage

The WA News reports on some very positive developments:

Penalty rates, the minimum wage and the workplace flexibility of 11.5 million Australian workers will come under the microscope in a sweeping review of the industrial relations system.

In an interview to mark the launch of five issues papers that set out the key areas the inquiry will put under the microscope, Productivity Commission chief Peter Harris has promised the review of Australia’s workplace laws will “bust myths” in the broadest review of IR laws in a generation.

The long-awaited review of Australia’s workplace laws will examine the effect of the minimum wage on employment, how penalty rates are set and what economic effect the loadings have on business and employees.

The issues papers were accidentally published online on Thursday.

The review was meant to be published on the Commission’s website at midnight but went live on the homepage on Thursday morning and was seized on by at least two Labor MPs who tweeted a link to it and broke the embargo.

Enterprise bargaining, individual agreements between employers and employees, unfair dismissal, anti-bullying laws and public sector employment issues will all be examined too.

 

Employers step up efforts to get rid of penalty rates

The SMH has reported on recent efforts to amend Australia’s job-destroying penalty rates: 

Australian industry is mounting a concerted campaign to wind back and abolish weekend and public holiday penalty rates, particularly in the hospitality sector.

Employer submissions to the Fair Work Commission’s review of minimum wage conditions across the economy filed in the last weeks of the year reveal the hitlist for business groups, which argue they need greater flexibility and lower costs in the face of tough trading conditions.

The commission is reviewing more than 200 awards that provide minimum wage, hours and other conditions. As part of that exercise it is conducting a separate examination of penalty rates that will flow into a number of awards.

The push comes as the federal government has launched a review of industrial relations through the Productivity Commission.

A particular focus is hospitality. The Restaurant & Catering Association used its submission to argue that the late night loading, which gives workers an extra 10 to 15 per cent per hour, should be stripped from the award.

RCA chief executive John Hart said he would also be looking to capitalise on a recent win in another case to push for standardised penalty rates across Saturday and Sunday across the industry.

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