Changes proposed for Victorian Schedule 1A employees

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Changes proposed for Victorian Schedule 1A employees

Proceedings under Section 501 of the Act concerning the adjustment of minimum wages applying to Schedule 1A employees.

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Proceedings under Section 501 of the Act concerning the adjustment of minimum wages applying to Schedule 1A employees.

    In essence this amendment seeks to provide the State of Victoria with the legislated right to intervene in minimum wage matters for Schedule 1A employees and enterprise bargaining matters affecting Victorian employers and employees.

    Powers of inspectors

    The Bill proposes to amend sec 86 of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 in relation to powers of inspectors. The powers of an inspector may be exercised for the purpose of ascertaining whether awards and certified agreements, and the requirements of the Act are being, or have been, observed. The Bill outlines the proposed powers of an inspector and provides that an inspector may exercise those powers at any time during ordinary work hours or at any other if it is necessary to do so. Essentially the amendment proposed by the Bill would afford inspectors the right to enter Schedule 1A workplaces to investigate alleged breaches, and to demand documents from employers without the need to have first visited that workplace.

    Stand-down provisions

    It is proposed that a new sec 509A be inserted into the principal Act to provide a mechanism for the stand-down of Schedule 1A employees. The proposed provision would apply to those Victorian contracts of employment that did not contain stand-down provisions. Victorian employers would be entitled to deduct payment for any part of a day during which a Victorian employee would not be usefully employed because of any strike, breakdown of machinery or any other stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer could not reasonably be held responsible. Stand-downs of the kind envisaged by the proposed sec 509A would not break continuity of employment for the purpose of relevant entitlements.

    Time and wage records

    Presently sec 514 of the Act requires that Victorian employers issue pay-slips to employees. The Bill proposes to amend that section so that Victorian employers are compelled to keep and maintain time, wages and employment records for employees who are not employed under a federal award, certified agreement or AWA.

    Schedule 1A entitlements

    The Bill also proposes to amend the minimum terms and conditions of employment outlined in Schedule 1A so that:-

    • Schedule 1A employees are provided with an entitlement to payment for work in excess of 38 hours per week. Unless otherwise agreed, payment for work in excess of 38 hours will be at the ordinary rate.
    • Schedule 1A employees are provided with an entitlement to eight days personal leave. It is proposed that of the eight days personal leave, five days may be taken as carers' leave. This is an increase from the current entitlement of five days sick leave and inserts an entitlement to personal leave that is currently not available to Schedule 1A employees.
    • Schedule 1A employees are provided with an entitlement to two days bereavement leave for the death of a member of their family or household. At present Schedule 1A employees are not entitled to bereavement leave.
    Outworkers

    Finally, the Bill proposes to amend the principal Act to provide an entitlement for contractors performing work as outworkers in the textile, clothing and footwear industry in Victoria, to be paid at least the amounts they would have been required to be paid if they had performed the work as employees. This proposed provision ensures that outworkers are paid at least the amount that Schedule 1A employees are entitled to receive for performing the same work. It does not ensure that they receive any of the other Schedule 1A entitlements such as annual leave, personal leave, bereavement leave or sick leave. Given the constitutional limitations of the federal Parliament, the provisions relating to outworkers will apply only to the extent that the relevant contracts for services are entered into by constitutional corporations or where the work is contracted to be performed under a contract for services in relation to interstate or international trade or commerce.

    The Workplace Relations Amendment (Minimum Entitlements for Victorian Workers) Bill 2001 is still before the House of Representatives and is due for consideration in the next two weeks.

     

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