Nsw employment legislation changing

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Nsw employment legislation changing

Last week the New South Wales Parliament was absorbed in consideration of three separate Bills that sought to amend aspects of the Industrial Relations Act 1996and the various leave and holiday Acts.

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Last week the New South Wales Parliament was absorbed in consideration of three separate Bills that sought to amend aspects of the Industrial Relations Act 1996and the various leave and holiday Acts. This HR Link outlines some of the amendments and changes being considered by Parliament.

Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2000

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64/2000alerted subscribers to a range of amendments intended for the Industrial Relations Act 1996(NSW). Tabled in Parliament on 6 June 2000, the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2000 seeks to:

  • give the State Commission the power to declare classes of independent contractors to be employees (deferred, see below);

  • dispense with the requirement that the minimum term for which an enterprise agreement can be made to apply is 12 months;

  • extend to casual employees who work on a regular and systematic basis the entitlement to 12 months' unpaid maternity, paternity or adoption leave;

  • enable some employees covered by a Federal award to bring unfair dismissal claims before the State Commission;

  • enable employees, for whom an employer is required to make superannuation contributions to a fund designated by an industrial instrument, to revoke any nomination of the employer (under s124) of a different fund to which the contributions are to be paid; and

  • reduce, from 48 hours to 24 hours, the notice required by authorised industrial officers wishing to enter premises to investigate industrial law breaches.

The Bill passed through the Legislative Assembly unchanged. Upon its introduction into the Legislative Assembly, the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr. Jeff Shaw, indicated that the aspect that had received the most attention was the proposal to give the Commission power to declare some independent contractors to be employees for the purposes of the Industrial Relations Act 1996. According to the Minister, this aspect of the Bill drew concern from some members of the Assembly's crossbench. To alleviate those concerns and not jeopardise the rest of the Bill, the Minister indicated in his second reading speech on 23 June 2000, that the contractors section of the Bill would be deferred and reintroduced as stand-alone legislation later in the year. 

Despite the amendment, the Coalition continued to oppose the Bill. According to the Shadow Minister of Industrial Relations, the only praiseworthy aspects of the legislation are the superannuation choice and carers-leave provisions.

Industrial Relations Leave Legislation Amendment (Bonuses) Bill 2000

Introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 21 June 2000, the Industrial Relations Leave Legislation Amendment (Bonuses) Bill 2000 seeks to amend the Annual Holidays Act 1944, the Long Service Leave Act 1955, and the Long Service Leave (Metalliferous Mining Industry) Act 1963. The amendments relate to the bonuses that may be taken into account for the purpose of calculating the ordinary pay of an employee for payment during annual or long service leave or for payment of untaken leave on termination of employment. Under the Bill, bonuses would not be taken into account if the ordinary annual pay of an employee exceeds an amount prescribed by regulations. As yet no decision has been taken as to the amount that ought to be prescribed by regulation. Although, in the second reading speech it was suggested that a figure in the order of $100,000 would probably be appropriate.

In the second reading debate of this Bill in the Legislative Assembly, the Opposition made it clear that it would not be supporting the Bill for two reasons. First and foremost, given the retrospective nature of the provisions, it was felt by the Opposition that employers would be faced with an additional impost for which they would not have budgeted. Secondly, it was claimed that the provisions of this Bill would ultimately discourage employer-funded bonuses.

Having passed the Legislative Assembly, the Bill was introduced into the Legislative Council on 22 June 2000.

Note: the legislation was passed and the prescribed amount was increased to $144,000 from 1 September 2005 - see Bonuses and ordinary pay: change in NSW annual leave legislation.

Industrial Relations Amendment (Leave) Bill

This Bill, which was also introduced into the Legislative Council last week, seeks to amend the Industrial Relations Act 1996to include provisions with respect to annual and long service leave. To this end, the Bill proposes to repeal the Annual Holidays Act 1944, the Long Service Leave Act 1955, and the Long Service Leave (Metalliferous Mining Industry) Act 1963.

The main changes to leave provisions include:

  • allowing for at least five days of annual leave in single days instead of minimum blocks of several days; and

  • extending the period within which annual leave must be taken from six months to within one year after falling due.

In light of the fact that the Industrial Relations Leave Legislation Amendment (Bonuses) Bill 2000 seeks to amend the various 'leave' Acts mentioned above, this Bill will incorporate the effect of the Bonuses Bill should it complete its passage through Parliament.

 

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