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Breastfeeding – anti-discrimination legislation assented; Abbott must condemn NSW PS laws, or admit they are policy: ACTU; Retailers welcome NSW payroll tax rebate; new threshold is $678,000.

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Breastfeeding — anti-discrimination legislation assented; Abbott must condemn NSW PS laws, or admit they are policy: ACTU; Retailers welcome NSW payroll tax rebate; new threshold is $678,000.

Breastfeeding — anti-discrimination legislation assented
 
Discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding, as well as family responsibilities in employment, has been outlawed under new federal legislation. Discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding, as well as family responsibilities in employment, has been outlawed under new federal legislation — Sex and Age Discrimination Legislation Amendment Act 2011 — assented 20 June 2011.

See also: New breastfeeding discrimination laws 


Abbott must condemn NSW PS laws, or admit they are policy: ACTU
 
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must condemn the NSW Liberal Government’s public service industrial relations policy or confirm such actions are Liberal Party policy, the ACTU says.

ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said Abbott’s ongoing silence about the new industrial relations laws introduced by the O’Farrell Government raises legitimate concerns that the Federal Liberal Party has similar plans to take away rights at work.

Lawrence said there is a growing groundswell from employers and the Liberal backbench to reverse parts of the Fair Work Act 2009.

He said he has written to Abbott on behalf of Australian workers to clarify the Liberal Party’s position.

‘Australian workers have a right to know if the Liberal Party will unilaterally set the wages and conditions for workers right across the country, just as [Barry] O’Farrell plans to do for NSW public sector workers,’ the letter says.

Unilateral cuts
 
‘The O’Farrell Government laws would enable workers’ important conditions, like penalty rates, maternity pay, and long service leave, to be cut unilaterally without remedy from the independent umpire.’

‘The introduction into the NSW Parliament of the Industrial Relations Amendment (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Bill effectively forces the Industrial Relations Commission to enforce the Government’s policy without any negotiation.’

‘The O’Farrell workplace laws would be a clear breach of international law and Australia’s obligation to respect human rights, which include labour rights and the right to collectively bargain.’

‘This will affect the wages and conditions of workers in NSW who run important public services, such as teachers, firefighters, ambulance officers, and community workers.’

Lawrence said the legislation would impact workers in Abbott’s NSW seat of Warringah, who had a right to know the Liberal Party’s position on workers’ rights, considering he wanted to lead the nation.

Took away rights
 
He said Abbott was a Minister in the Government that took away the workplace rights of millions of working people and that workers remained concerned he would introduce similar laws again if he was elected Prime Minister.

‘It is simply not good enough for Abbott to avoid clarifying his position by hiding behind the excuse that it is a “state issue”,’ Lawrence said.

‘As the Leader of the Federal Liberal Party and member for the NSW seat of Warringah, we call on Abbott to condemn this Bill and to insist that Premier O’Farrell reconsider it.’

‘Without unequivocal condemnation of these laws, working people can only conclude that Abbott condones the introduction of laws that remove workers’ rights and remove the independent umpire. Working families cannot afford another Liberal Party-led attack on their rights at work.’

See also: 

Retailers welcome NSW payroll tax rebate; new threshold is $678,000
 
Retailers have welcomed the O’Farrell Government’s move to introduce a $4000 payroll tax rebate for new jobs created in the state.

The legislation, which passed last Friday, will entitle registered businesses to claim $4000 back when they employ a new worker, who must be employed with them for two years. The scheme starts 1 July.

Vexed issue
 
‘Payroll tax is a vexed issue for retailers, and while we would prefer to see the payroll tax in NSW reduced, this legislation will encourage employers to take on new workers, which is good news for the state,’ said Australian National Retailers Association CEO Margy Osmond.

‘It is particularly encouraging that the government has moved quickly to bring this legislation in and we hope it is the beginning of some fair and frank discussions about the tax. Businesses in NSW pay some of the highest rates of payroll tax in the country.’

Red tape
 
Osmond said that while the Jobs Action Plan will have a positive impact on jobs growth, it is important that businesses not be unfairly loaded with red tape in signing up for, and meeting the obligations to, get the rebate.
 
‘Retailers deal with a lot of red tape running their businesses and this new legislation should not add an additional burden to them,’ she said.
 
‘We will look forward to working with the NSW government to ensure this does not occur.’

‘A simple registration process and the use of data businesses already collect in terms of employee numbers will go a long way to ensuring additional employees join the payroll seamlessly and the rebate can be easily accessed.’

The threshold amount for the payment of payroll tax was gazetted yesterday (Monday) and has been set for the 2011–12 financial year at $678,000.

See also: $4000 payroll tax rebate on 100,000 new jobs
 
 
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