Junior rates bill

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Junior rates bill

The federal Government has introduced a Bill to permanently retain the exemption for age based junior rates in federal awards and agreements from the anti-discrimination provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

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The federal Government has introduced a Bill to permanently retain the exemption for age based junior rates in federal awards and agreements from the anti-discrimination provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

The Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Youth Employment) Bill 1998 amends the Workplace Relations Act 1996(‘the Act’) to:

  • include ‘…protecting the competitive position of young people in the labour market, promoting youth employment and assisting in reducing youth unemployment…‘, as a new part of the principal object of the Act(s3) and the object of Part VI, ‘Dispute Prevention and Settlement’ (s88A);
  • replace the current temporary exemption for junior rates of pay with a permanent exemption; and
  • promote the inclusion of junior rates of pay in federal awards and agreements.

The Act currently exempts junior rates in awards or variations made before 22 June 2000 from unlawful discrimination based on age (s143(1D), s143(1E)). After that date the Commission may make or vary awards containing junior rates on a case by case basis. Section 120Bof the Actrequires the Commission to report to the Minister by 22 June 1999 on the consequences on youth employment of abolishing junior rates. That inquiry is proceeding currently.

Similarly, for agreements, the Bill repeals s170LU(7) which provides that certified agreements made after 22 June 2000 are not exempted from unlawful discrimination for junior rates, except on a case by case basis.

The Bill encourages the spread of junior rates. It specifically amends s143(1C)(e) to require awards and variations which apply to work performed by young people to contain, where appropriate, junior rates of pay.

Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act

The Bill also amends the Workplace Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Act 1996(‘the WROLA Act’). The WROLA Act contains transitional provisions from the former Industrial Relations Act 1988and provisions dealing with ‘award simplification’. It amends Item 51 to provide that when the Commission simplifies an award to ensure that where the award applies to work that is or may be performed by young people, it contains, where appropriate junior rates of pay. It also permanently exempts award clauses containing junior rates of pay from the operation of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Actby repealing subitem 51(4) from the WROLA Act.

Passage of the Bill

The Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on 26 November 1996 by the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business. It is expected that the Bill will be opposed in the Senate by both the ALP and the Democrats.

 
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