ACTU wants extra holiday pay, bosses want them cashed out

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ACTU wants extra holiday pay, bosses want them cashed out

The Australian Industry Group has applied to Fair Work Australia for changes to the Model Award Flexibility Clause to allow individual employees to agree to cashing out of annual leave.

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The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has applied to Fair Work Australia for changes to the Model Award Flexibility Clause to allow individual employees to agree to cashing out of annual leave.

However, unions want extra pay for workers who miss out when rostered on public holdays.

Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the claim was to allow individual award covered employees to agree with their employers on flexible leave arrangements.

Delivered little
 
‘Individual Flexibility Arrangements (IFAs) promised so much but so far have delivered very little,’ Ridout said.

‘Some of the problems can only be addressed through changes to the Fair Work Act, which Ai Group is pursuing during the Fair Work Act Review.’
 
‘However, other problems can and should be addressed through changes to the flexibility clause.’

Ridout said leave flexibility is extremely important to a very large number of individual employees and their employers.

‘This includes the cashing-out of annual leave beyond four weeks of accrued leave if this is what an employee genuinely wants and if the employer agrees,’ she said.

‘Cashing-out of annual leave is usually initiated by employees, not employers.’

Unfair
 
‘In circumstances where there is no enterprise agreement in place at a particular workplace it is unfair to deny an award-covered employee the opportunity to cash-out a portion of his or her annual leave, as is currently the case given the terms of modern awards.’

The ACTU submission to the modern awards review wants to standardise public holiday entitlements for all workers, and to increase apprentice completion rates by lifting training wages.

ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons said unions would seek public holiday equity for employees who work non-standard hours, and often miss out when they are rostered on a public holiday.

Non-standard week
 
‘The current system is weighted against employees who work a non-standard week,’ Lyons said.

‘At present, many of these workers are not entitled to the same number of days off in a year as employees who work a typical Monday–Friday roster.’

‘This is because if a public holiday falls on their rostered day off, they are then not entitled to a day off for compensation.’

‘Extremely inequitable’
 
‘These workers still only get two days off across a week that includes a long weekend. This is extremely inequitable and unions want to ensure these workers receive the same number of days off as their counterparts working standard hours.’

Unions are calling for changes to the awards system that ensures these workers can choose to receive either an additional day’s wages, an alternative day off, or an extra day of annual leave.

The ACTU is also calling for Fair Work Australia to establish a new, fairer safety net for hundreds of thousands of apprentices by ensuring that all adult apprentices earn at least the minimum wage in their industry, benefiting more than 200,000 workers.
 
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