IR and employment developments


IR and employment developments

Inquiry to begin on paid maternity leave; Fast food but slower pay in Alice Springs; News from AHRI - upcoming events.


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Inquiry to begin on paid maternity leave; Fast food but slower pay in Alice Springs; News from AHRI - upcoming events.

Inquiry to begin on paid maternity leave

The Productivity Commission is to inquire into what is the best way for the Federal Government to introduce paid maternity, paternity and parental leave.

The Government announced the inquiry yesterday, saying that any policy reforms in this area will be aimed at ensuring strong and sustainable economic growth, take into account our ageing population and the importance of early childhood development, and support Australian families balance work and family responsibilities.

In a statement, the Government said it wants to ‘explore ways to make it as easy as possible for working mums to balance their employment with the important job of raising a new generation of Australians’.

Economic and social costs

The Productivity Commission will be asked to look at the economic and social costs and benefits of paid maternity, paternity and parental leave.

The statement said the Commission will conduct a thorough examination and provide an opportunity for public participation. Public hearings will be held and submissions from the public will also be sought.

It will be asked to report by February 2009 with the report to be released publicly.

Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, long a vigorous supporter of paid maternity leave (PML), described the inquiry as ‘an important milestone’.

Senator Stott Despoja developed a PML model in 2001, which was tabled as legislation in 2002. She reintroduced the updated legislation in September 2007.

Her legislation provided for a Government-funded, national scheme of 14 weeks leave at the minimum wage and allows for employer top-ups.

Previous inquiries

Senator Stott Despoja said the Government and the Commission would be aware that there have been a number of inquiries already on the issue of PML including a Senate inquiry and the HREOC inquiry in 2002.

‘Australia lags behind the rest of the world - we are one of only two OECD countries without paid maternity Leave - it is time for Australia to catch up’, she said.

Details on the inquiry and how to make a submission will soon be available from the Commission at or phone 02 6240 3239.


Paid maternity leave not enough, says survey

No maternity leave stresses pregnant women: study

Fast food but slower pay in Alice Springs

The Workplace Ombudsman has recovered almost $8000 in unpaid wages and entitlements for 26 young workers at an Alice Springs fast-food outlet.

The money was recovered as part of the Workplace Ombudsman’s Young Worker Compliance Audit campaign.

The Ombudsman is randomly auditing businesses across the Northern Territory to ensure they are providing fair workplaces for their young workers.

During the campaign, which remains ongoing, Workplace Inspectors from the Northern Territory Branch discovered that the fast-food business had been underpaying the 26 young workers against the Retail, Wholesale and Distributive Award (NT) 2000.


‘As we find in a large number of our investigations and compliance audits, this was not a case of an employer deliberately trying to exploit young workers but rather a mistake which has been immediately corrected by the employer as soon as it was bought to their attention by the inspectors,’ said Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson.

“Nevertheless, this employer now knows that the Workplace Ombudsman is monitoring its treatment of workers to ensure that it is fair.'

‘We know that other employers are not always aware of their obligations to workers since we recovered $481,779 in unpaid worker entitlements from compliance audits in 2007.’


Cleaning workers ‘underpaid by $350,000’, says Ombudsman

News from AHRI - upcoming events

  • HR Practices Day
  • AHRI National Convention 2008

HR Practices Day

HR Practices Day is your opportunity to hear from Australian and international leaders in HR and people management.

This year's programs feature London Business School's Rob Goffee (NSW/Vic), Wesfarmers' Chris Ryan, St George Bank's Brett Wright (SA), Hewitt Best Employer winners Kevin Panozza and Rilla Moore (Qld/ACT), author Bob Critchley (NT) and Frank Ogle of Tasmania's Premier and Cabinet Office (Tas).

HR Practices Days are held around Australia:

  • ACT: Wednesday, 5 March
  • NSW: Wednesday, 12 March
  • NT: Thursday, 28 February
  • Qld: Wednesday, 27 February
  • SA: Tuesday, 18 March
  • Tas: Tuesday, 11 March
  • Vic: Tuesday, 4 March
  • WA: Thursday, 6 March

For more information visit AHRI.

AHRI National Convention 2008

The AHRI National Convention is a flagship event for HR and people managers, giving you the opportunity to learn from business leaders, respected authors and academics on the issues that matter to the profession.

Organised by AHRI, the professional association for human resources and people management, the two-day convention program is packed with thought leaders selected for their cutting-edge knowledge.

Delegates can also extend their stay by joining optional Extensions masterclasses and workshops on Tuesday, 20 and Friday, 23 May.

Visit AHRI for details on the convention.

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