Employers act — bargaining laws; super; compliance

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Employers act — bargaining laws; super; compliance

Analysis of FWA bargaining laws shows them ‘far from settled’; ‘Consult with us on super’, employer group warns govt; Geraldton employers found to be law-abiding.

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Analysis of FWA bargaining laws shows them ‘far from settled’; ‘Consult with us on super’, employer group warns govt; Geraldton employers found to be law-abiding.
 
Analysis of FWA bargaining laws shows them ‘far from settled’
 
The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) has released a detailed analysis of the first 12 months of operation of the Fair Work bargaining laws, and says the laws are still ‘far from settled’.
 
The report looks at significant FWA and Federal Court decisions and their ramifications for employers.
 
‘A very large number of decisions have been made by Fair Work Australia (FWA) under the new laws and it has been necessary for Ai Group to intervene in a large number of Full Bench cases dealing with critical principles to ensure that the laws work as intended,’ said Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout.
 
‘Ai Group will continue to monitor developments closely and to pursue legislative amendments where problems become apparent.’
 
‘It is vital that Australia maintains a fair and productive workplace relations system which enables Australian employers to remain flexible and globally competitive.’
 
 
‘Consult with us on super’, employer group warns govt
 
In another development, a major employer organisation has warned the Federal Government not to get into the same fight over superannuation that it did with the mining industry over the super profits tax.
 
The Federal Labor Government has flagged that it plans to increase the employer superannuation guarantee from 9% to 12% by 2019–20.
 
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) national president David Michaelis this week warned Prime Minister Julia Gillard to consult with employers in good faith on the matter.
 
Good faith
 
‘Just as Prime Minister Gillard used her leadership to open the door to consultation with the resource industry on tax, we are tonight calling on the Prime Minister to open her government’s door to good-faith consultations with the nation’s one million employers on the superannuation levy,’ said Michaelis.
 
He pointed out that, like the resource tax, the superannuation increase was decided by the Rudd Government without consultation and against the recommendations of the Henry review.
 
Focus on economy
 
‘As election speculation swirls around us, our primary focus is the health and management of our national economy,’ he said.
 
‘On superannuation, we now have the Cooper review. Separately, we also have the government decision to progressively increase the superannuation levy by a third from 9 per cent to 12 per cent, which puts the funding burden on employers and small business despite the government continually suggesting that it is they who are paying the bill.’
 
Unpopularity
 
Michaelis said the ACCI had completed its pre-election survey of business views on government priorities, with tax and reducing the budget deficit topping the list.
 
Stressing the body was apolitical, and he said the general community ‘must in the future be prepared to stomach periods of unpopularity experienced by political leaders’ or Australia would end up with the European malaise of a crop of leaders too scared of a political backlash to make hard decisions.
 
 
Geraldton employers found to be law-abiding
 
Meanwhile, despite a string of complaints from workers, employers at Geraldton in Western Australia have been found to be about the most law-abiding in the country.
 
An audit of 129 businesses over three days in March showed 91% were meeting their record-keeping and payslip obligations. Only 11 (9%) recorded payslip contraventions.
 
Fair Work Ombudsman Western Australian Director Leigh Quealy said his office wrote to more than 800 Geraldton employers two weeks before the campaign alerting them to the field visits.
 
Quealy said media coverage ahead of the visits by the Geraldton Guardian and ABC Radio also assisted inspectors gain the cooperation of employers.
 
He said the high compliance rate is pleasing and inspectors have assisted those businesses with record-keeping breaches to put processes in place to ensure they do not occur again.
 
The FW Ombudsman is conducting a separate time-and-wage audit of one business suspected of underpaying its employees the minimum hourly rate of pay and checking another that intended to terminate its employees to ensure it follows correct procedures.
 
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