Labor's 10 Employment Standards

Analysis

Labor's 10 Employment Standards

Federal Labor’s plan for a new industrial relations system includes a significant expansion in the number of minimum employment standards.

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Federal Labor’s plan for a new industrial relations system includes a significant expansion in the number of minimum employment standards.

At the time of the WorkChoices changes in March 2006, the previous government introduced employment standards into federal law regarding hours of work, annual leave, personal/carers leave and parental leave.

According to Labor’s pre-election policy announcements, the new government will introduce six new employment standards to take effect 1 January 2010. These standards will be enshrined in the federal workplace legislation. This article outlines the changes favoured by the new government.

Standards noted

Labor has promised to set up a universal safety net of 10 National Employment Standards. These are:

  1. Hours of Work
  2. Parental Leave
  3. Flexible Work for Parents
  4. Annual Leave
  5. Personal, Carers and Compassionate Leave
  6. Community Service Leave
  7. Public Holidays
  8. Information in the Workplace
  9. Notice of Termination and Redundancy
  10. Long Service Leave

Hours, annual leave, personal/carers leave
There is no proposed change to standards for hours of work, annual leave and personal/carers leave.

Parental leave
The current 12-month entitlement to unpaid parental leave will increase to 24 months. Both parents will be entitled to take separate periods of parental leave of 12 months each. Alternatively, one parent may request an additional 12 months unpaid parental leave. An employer will be able to decline a request only on reasonable business grounds.

Parents will be entitled to request flexible work arrangements until a child reaches school age. Employers will need to have reasonable business grounds to support any refusal to grant this leave.

Community service leave
Community service leave will be available for activities such as jury service.

Public holidays
Public holidays will be guaranteed and employees will be entitled to receive award penalty rates or compensation for working on a public holiday.

Notice periods
Minimum notice periods for termination of employment will be retained.

Redundancy
In addition, employees made redundant within workplaces with 15 or more employees will be entitled to severance pay.

Information on workplace rights
Employers will be required to give new employees a statement containing information regarding workplace rights including a statement about the right to join a union.

Draft legislation not yet released

As the laws have not yet changed and detailed draft legislation has not been released, the outcome may differ to those described here.

Australian Business Lawyers will continue to provide updates on any changes and developments as soon as they occur.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact any of our workplace law partners, or your usual Australian Business Lawyers contact.

* Australian Business Lawyers specialises in employment law and related areas.


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