Reforms to nsw ir laws

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Reforms to nsw ir laws

On Thursday 18 May 2000, the New South Wales Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr. Jeff Shaw addressed the NSW Labor Council.

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On Thursday 18 May 2000, the New South Wales Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr. Jeff Shaw addressed the NSW Labor Council. In that address the Minister unveiled a range of amendments intended for the Industrial Relations Act 1996(NSW).

Four years ago the NSW Actstood alone, while other jurisdictions modelled their industrial relations legislation on the federal Workplace Relations Act 1996. Today, the Minister believes that the NSW Act"...has provided the industrial relations blueprint for the eastern seaboard of Australia. Now Labor Government's in four States are thwarting the Federal Government's agenda to undermine workers' rights and have set up or are seeking to set up practical and broadly supported industrial relations models".

Not wishing to be seen to be resting on their laurels the Minister announced to Labor's industrial wing that a bill to amend the State Actwas currently being drafted and would be tabled in Parliament before the end of the current session. It is intended that the Bill will:

  • Give the State Commission the power to declare classes of independent contractors to be employees. This provision is in many respects similar to the "contractor deeming" provisions found in the Queensland Industrial Relations Act 1999. The Minister considered this to be a key amendment that was designed to address the evasion of employee status by certain employers;

  • Entitle union officials to give 24 hours notice to employers as distinct from the current 48 hours before entering a workplace to investigate suspected breaches.

  • Prohibit the sacking of injured workers whilst receiving accident pay;

  • Afford unions the opportunity to become a party to non-union enterprise agreements, where their presence has been requested by a union member covered by the agreement;

  • Provide parental leave for long-term casuals who have worked for the same employer for two years.

Mr. Shaw also outlined a series of other reforms which will receive attention throughout the rest of the Government's term. They include:

  • An inquiry into labour hire firms to identify the responsibilities and rights of employers and employees;

  • Legislation to protect outworkers by placing greater responsibility upon companies at the top of the clothing chain to ensure that the garments supplied by them are made in accordance with appropriate labour standards;

  • The development of guidelines by the NSW Privacy Commissioner for the monitoring of email in NSW workplaces.

According to the Minister these reforms "...deliver the election commitments of the Carr Government. They ensure a fair and productive system responsive to family, employers and employees and changing work conditions".

 
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