Fair Work Bill passes after compromise with Fielding

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Fair Work Bill passes after compromise with Fielding

After a last-minute compromise by independent Senator Steve Fielding, Labor got its Fair Work Bill through the Senate late on Friday afternoon.

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After a last-minute compromise by independent Senator Steve Fielding, Labor got its Fair Work Bill through the Senate late on Friday afternoon.
 
The sticking point had been the cut-off point for the exemption from the unfair dismissal laws for small business.
 
Labor wanted the threshold to be fewer than 15 employees. Fielding wanted the cut off to be 20 full-time equivalent employees, while the Coalition wanted to set the figure at 25.
 
After the Lower House rejected Fielding’s amendment and IR Minister Julia Gillard said the government would not accept any changes to the legislation, it was returned to the Senate where it faced defeat.
 
Fielding offered an initial compromise of 15 full-time equivalent positions, but Labor at first rejected this.
 
Accepted compromise
 
However, discussions with Fielding continued, and he accepted a compromise that the cut-off be fewer than 15 full-time equivalent positions for 18 months after the legislation begins on 1 July this year, and then reverts to a ‘head count’ of fewer than 15 employees, whatever their status.
 
All components of the legislation will now commence on 1 July, except for the NES and modernised awards, which will begin on 1 January 2010.
 
WorkplaceInfo will provide further details of the legislation and its consequences today and over the following weeks and months.
 
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