IR changes news


IR changes news

Latest news on IR changes: ‘Predictability’ gone for families under new IR laws, says Labor; New sick leave rules ‘mean and nasty’, says ACTU; and Unions lodge State 4% pay claims for low-paid.


Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Latest news on IR changes: ‘Predictability’ gone for families under new IR laws, says Labor; New sick leave rules ‘mean and nasty’, says ACTU; and Unions lodge State 4% pay claims for low-paid. 

‘Predictability’ gone for families under new IR laws, says Labor

Families will find it harder to balance work and family time under the Federal Government’s new IR laws, Labor has argued in Parliament. 

Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Work and Family, asked Prime Minister John Howard during question time this week whether under the new IR legislation: 

‘Won’t many Australians have:  

  • no guarantee of starting or finishing times;

  • no guarantee of minimum or maximum hours;

  • no certainty of rosters;

  • no entitlement to a stable income week by week, even for permanent full-time employees; and

  • no entitlement to higher rates of pay for overtime or family unfriendly hours;

Prime Minister, won’t this legislation make balancing work and family tougher than ever before?’

Plibersek said Howard responded: ‘No’.  

However, she said later family budgets and family timetables depend on ‘predictable hours of work and predictable take home pay’.  

‘Maintaining home life, arranging childcare and scheduling kids sporting commitments - all depend on some predictability,’ she said.

Irregular hours likely

Plibersek said the WorkChoices legislation ‘is designed to allow employers to require workers to work irregular and family unfriendly hours including early mornings, nights, weekends and public holidays without adequate compensation’.  

‘How many child care centres are open early in the morning, nights, weekends and public holidays?’ she asked.

‘What type of arrangements does the Government expect Australian parents to make to care for their kids when their bosses expect them to work all hours and at short notice?’


Employers want work and family within reason 

Work and family test case - flexible parental leave by agreement

New sick leave rules ‘mean and nasty’, says ACTU

The ACTU has attacked the practical implications of the new IR legislation which allows employers to require a doctor’s certificate each time a worker takes sick leave, even if only for one day. 

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said the new sick leave rules are ‘just plain mean’. 

‘This will increase costs for working families who could be forced to visit a doctor and pay $40 or $50 every time they or one of their children has even a minor illness,’ Combet said. 

‘Getting in to see a doctor at short notice, let alone one that is willing to bulk bill, is already a nightmare for many Australian families and this will only make it worse. 

‘Like the rest of the Government’s IR laws these mean and nasty new sick leave rules will do nothing to improve the economy or increase productivity.  

‘All they will do is increase the pressure on working families and push more workers to go to work even if they are ill or to send sick kids to school when they would be better off home in bed.’ 

Combet said under existing IR laws most awards and agreements give Australian workers a legal right to take up to 4 or 5 single days of sick leave a year without the need to go to doctor and get a medical certificate.  

Some doctors organisations have opposed the new provision on the ground that it will clog up doctors’ waiting room, increase their paperwork and may encourage people who are ill to go to work and possibly infect fellow workers. 

ACCI supports sick leave changes

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said the new sick leave rules ‘incorporates appropriate supporting checks and balances’.

In an statement ACCI said it is ‘entirely appropriate and necessary that employers have the option of requiring a medical certificate for each day an employee is claiming paid sick leave’.

‘Awards negotiated by unions already allow employers to require medical certificates for each day of sick leave.  

‘Such awards are found in the hospitality, business services, health, wholesale, retail, manufacturing and agricultural industries.’  

ACCI said most workplaces sick leave will continue to be governed by mutual trust.


'Unprotected' award conditions & proposed IR legislation

Unions lodge State 4% pay claims for low-paid 

Unions around Australia have lodged a claim for a 4% pay rise for low paid workers on State awards.  

The claims will be lodged with the State Industrial Relations Commissions in NSW, QLD, WA, SA and TAS, and support a similar application recently made by the ACTU in the federal Industrial Commission.  

The ACTU said unions have lodged the claim in order to try to protect low paid workers from the Federal Government’s plan to freeze minimum wages in Australia for at least 6 months while it introduces its new industrial relations laws. 


Low Paid Commission to set minimum wage, says Andrews


Post details