IR debate in Parliament this week

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IR debate in Parliament this week

Three bills affecting workplace practices are scheduled for debate tomorrow as Federal Parliament sits for the first time this year.

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Three bills affecting workplace practices are scheduled for debate tomorrow as Federal Parliament sits for the first time this year.
 
The issue of bargaining agents' fees shows no sign of abating, with the second reading debate of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Prohibition of Compulsory Union Fees) [No. 2] Bill resuming tomorrow.
 
It was introduced into the House of Representatives on 4 December, after the original bill was laid aside in mid-September, when the House of Representatives could not agree to pass amendments made by the Senate.
 
Under the Senate amendments, workers and their employers would have been able to agree collectively to the implementation of union bargaining fees at the workplace, where a majority of workers agreed.
 
The Corporations Amendment (Repayment of Directors' Bonuses) Bill 2002 is also scheduled for debate tomorrow. It was introduced by the Treasurer, Peter Costello, in October, and stipulates that 'unreasonable' payments made to directors of companies just before those companies went into liquidation could be recovered by administrators on behalf of workers and other creditors.
 
That bill was referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee, which is due to report on it by 3 March.
 
Another bill set for a second reading debate is the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Bill 2002. This bill was introduced a year ago and means prospective employers would no longer be able to ask if a women is pregnant, or considering pregnancy, during a job interview.
 
It would also make it illegal to ask for medical information about pregnancy or potential pregnancy where that information is not being used for legitimate reasons like occupational health and safety, and makes it clear that discriminating against women for breastfeeding in the workplace would be illegal.
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