Smaller firm employees worst off under WorkChoices, says report

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Smaller firm employees worst off under WorkChoices, says report

A report on the effect of WorkChoices on Victorian workers prepared by the highly respected Sydney University Workplace Research Centre (WRC) has found employees tend to be worse off in smaller workplaces under the new IR regime.

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A report on the effect of WorkChoices on Victorian workers prepared by the highly respected Sydney University Workplace Research Centre (WRC) has found employees tend to be worse off in smaller workplaces under the new IR regime.

It also finds employees are generally worse off under individual agreements but better off in unionised workshops.

The report, called Working Conditions Snapshot 2006 and prepared by WRC Research Projects Manager Gillian Considine , has been denounced by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews who says the critics of WorkChoices are 'looking for excuses to attack it'.

However Labor IR spokesman Stephen Smith accused Andrews of 'arrogantly dismissing' quality academic research, including an assessment of WorkChoices by the Sydney University Dean of Law, Professor Ron McCallum.

'Scrap WorkChoices'

And Victoria's Industrial Relations Minister Rob Hulls stands by the research, saying WorkChoices should be scrapped.

'It's unfair, particularly on employees working in small businesses, because they're actually missing out on things such as overtime, such as annual leave loading, such as weekend penalty rates,' he said. 'As a result of WorkChoices, they're also missing out on spending more time with their families.'

The WRC report is based on 20 minute telephone surveys with managers in Victorian workplaces that ranged in size from small (five to 19 employees, medium (20 to 99 employees) and large (100 plus employee) businesses.

Major findings

Major findings of the report are:

The proportion of workplaces making various entitlements available to non-managerial employees increased as workplace size increased.

Larger workplaces are more likely to have to provide:

  • Annual leave loading
  • Weekend penalty rates
  • Overtime payments
  • Paid maternity leave

Large workplaces are also more likely than small workplaces to provide:

  • Additional super funds above the minimum requirement
  • Share ownership schemes
  • Employer savings plans

Industrial arrangements are being used to reconfigure the hours and earnings of non-managerial employees in workplaces that use individual arrangement as the dominant form of pay setting.

Specifically, workplaces that rely on individual arrangements are less likely to provide:

  • Annual leave loading
  • Overtime rates
  • Weekend penalty rates

Are more likely to provide:

  • Annualised salaries
  • Performance based pay

Unionised workplaces showed similar patterns of entitlements as workplaces that are dominated by collective forms of pay setting.

Unionised workplaces are more likely to provide:

  • Annual leave loading
  • Overtime rates
  • Weekend penalty rates

But are less likely to provide:

  • Performance based pay

Industry sector differences did not reveal anything unexpected but a number of findings are noteworthy:

The Manufacturing and Construction industries are more likely to provide overtime rates and weekend penalty rates and the Construction industry is more likely to provide rostered days off.

The Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants industry is more likely to cash out entitlements for a higher rate of pay.

The Finance, Insurance and Business Services sector have higher than average levels of performance-based pay and annualised salaries.

The Mining and Utilities and Health and Education sectors, both with high proportions of Government sector workplaces, are more likely to provide paid maternity leave.

Annual leave loading is less likely to be provided in the Mining and Utilities, Finance, Insurance and Business services, and Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants sectors than in other industry sectors.

Related:

'Fatally flawed' WorkChoices will collapse, says top IR lawyer

Attacks mount as WorkChoices reality hits

  

 

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