Labor's new minimum standards

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Labor's new minimum standards

Following the ALP National Conference held in Sydney at the weekend, Labor has released details of its 10 National Employment Standards, and a further 10 standards that may be contained in the new awards under their proposed industrial relations system.

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Following the ALP National Conference held in Sydney at the weekend, Labor has released details of its 10 National Employment Standards, and a further 10 standards that may be contained in the new awards under their proposed industrial relations system.

Federal Labor's 10 National Employment Standards

A Labor Government will guarantee the following minimum standards in law for all Australian employees:

1. Hours of work

Under Federal Labor, the standard working week for a full time employee will be 38 hours. Employees may be required to work additional hours, but cannot be required to work unreasonable additional hours.

2. Parental leave

Federal Labor recognises that many families want to have a parent provide all or most of the care for a child during the first two years of the child's life.

A Rudd Labor Government will guarantee that both parents have the right to separate periods of up to 12 months of unpaid leave associated with the birth of a baby. Where families prefer one parent to take a longer period of leave, that parent will be entitled to request up to an additional 12 months of unpaid parental leave from their employer.

The employer may only refuse the request for the additional 12 months leave on reasonable business grounds. This will guarantee that Australian working families have the flexibility of up to 24 months unpaid leave to provide care for their child.

3. Flexible work for parents

A Rudd Labor Government will guarantee a right for parents to request flexible work arrangements until their child reaches school age. Employers will only be able to refuse any request on reasonable business grounds.

4. Annual leave

All full-time non-casual employees will be guaranteed four weeks paid annual leave each year. Part-time employees will be entitled to four weeks annual leave paid pro rata. Shift workers will be entitled to an additional paid week of annual leave.

5. Personal, Carers and Compassionate leave

All full-time non-casual employees will be entitled to 10 days paid personal and carers leave each year. Part-time employees will be entitled to 10 days personal leave paid pro rata.

These employees will also be entitled to two days paid compassionate leave on the death or serious illness of a family member or a person the employee lives with. All employees will be entitled to an additional two days of unpaid personal leave where required for genuine caring purposes and family emergencies.

6. Community Service Leave

Employees will be entitled to leave for prescribed community service activities, for example paid leave for jury service and reasonable unpaid leave for emergency services duties.

7. Public holidays

Federal Labor's industrial relations system will guarantee public holidays. Where an employee works on a public holiday, they will be entitled to an appropriate penalty rate of pay or other compensation. This will be set out in the applicable award.

8. Information in the workplace

Employers must provide all new employees with a Fair Work Information Statement which contains prescribed information about the employee's rights and entitlements at work, including the right of the employee to choose whether to be or not to be a member of a union and where to go for information and assistance.

9. Termination of Employment and Redundancy

All employees will be entitled to fair notice of termination. Employees who are made redundant and who are employed in workplaces with 15 or more employees will also be entitled to redundancy pay as determined by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in the 2004 Redundancy Test Case.

10. Long Service Leave

As part of its commitment to national industrial relations laws, Federal Labor will work with the States to develop nationally consistent long service leave entitlements.

Under Federal Labor, long service leave entitlements accrued under these arrangements will be protected in the transition to nationally consistent long service leave entitlements so Australian employees are not disadvantaged.

10 new Minimum Award Standards:

Federal Labor's new awards will provide industry relevant detail to Labor's National Employment Standards and may only contain a further 10 minimum standards:

  1. Minimum wages. This will include skill based classifications and career structures, incentive based payments and bonuses, wage rates and other arrangements for apprentices and trainees
  2. The type of work performed, for example whether an employee is permanent or casual, and the facilitation of flexible working arrangements, particularly for workers with family responsibilities, including quality part time employment and job sharing
  3. Arrangements for when work is performed, including hours of work, rostering, rest breaks and meal breaks
  4. Overtime rates for employees working long hours
  5. Penalty rates for employees working unsocial, irregular or unpredictable hours, on weekends or public holidays, and as shift workers
  6. Provisions for minimum annualised wage or salary arrangements that have regard to the patterns of work in an occupation, industry or enterprise as an alternative to the payment of penalty rates, with appropriate safeguards to ensure individual employees are not disadvantaged
  7. Allowances including reimbursement of expenses, higher duties and disability based payments
  8. Leave, leave loadings and the arrangements for taking leave
  9. Superannuation, and
  10. Consultation, representation and dispute settling procedures

Under Labor award coverage will not be extended to cover those who are historically award free, such as managerial employees.

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