New FWA changes ‘will end in tears’, says employer body

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New FWA changes ‘will end in tears’, says employer body

A leading employers' body has said it is ‘bewildered and disappointed’ at new changes proposed to workplace legislation by the Federal Government, saying they will ‘end in tears’.

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A leading employers' body has said it is ‘bewildered and disappointed’ at new changes proposed to workplace legislation by the Federal Government, saying they will ‘end in tears’.

Steve Cartwright, CEO of NSW Business Chamber, said the proposals would 'once again' increase the financial and compliance burden on business.

Protection

The government announced over the last week that amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 would include allowing for greater flexibility in parental leave, protection for workers from having their rosters changed without consultation and more flexible work arrangements.

The specific measures include:
  • amending the model consultation clauses for awards and agreements to require an employer, before making any decision to change rosters or working hours, to genuinely consult with affected employees about the impact of the changes on their family life
  • providing a worker who has suffered bullying at work a right of recourse through the Fair Work Commission
  • amending the National Employment Standards to extend the scope of the right to request flexible working arrangements to more categories of employees who need it — carers, workers with disability, mature aged workers and workers experiencing domestic violence
  • improving entitlements for workers who are pregnant, including changes to special maternity leave and the right to transfer to a safe job
  • providing flexibility to parents taking unpaid parental leave, including extending the time that parents can take unpaid parental leave together from 3 weeks to 8 weeks and allowing them to choose when they want to take that leave
  • providing an express right to request a return to work on a part time basis after taking unpaid parental leave.
Cartwright said he was calling for the nation’s new small business commissioner to investigate the impact of the government’s proposed changes on business.

‘These “back of the envelope” policy announcements are the exact type of thing we want a small business commissioner to deal with,’ he said.

‘This is why small business needs a permanent and strong voice within the government championing their cause and defending them against the drive for greater and greater regulation.’

Difficult

‘The Labor Government talks the talk on helping small business, but when it comes to the crunch this Government just makes it increasingly difficult to run a business and keep Australians in jobs.’

Cartwright said he had long suspected that the Federal Government simply doesn’t understand the needs of the business community, and these proposed changes only add to this belief.

‘The Prime Minister said she would continue to govern and not begin campaigning after revealing the date of the next election, but this is clearly an election announcement aimed at securing votes,’ he said.
 
Breaking down

‘The Federal Government sees the business community as a willing horse that can be loaded up with new taxes, more regulation and more government imposed cost burdens.’

‘I can tell the Government that the willing horse is getting close to breaking down and it will end in tears, higher unemployment and a growing welfare bill that every taxpayer will ultimately pay for.’
 
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