IR reforms target workplace bullying


IR reforms target workplace bullying

A ministerial IR review makes 85 recommendations for reform of the WA industrial relations system.


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The WA government has released the Final Report of the Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System.

The final report makes 85 recommendations for reform of the state industrial relations system to ensure it is modern, fair and accessible.

Key reforms the McGowan government will progress include:
  • enabling workers to seek an order from the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) to stop workplace bullying
  • providing a legislative equal remuneration framework for the WAIRC to deal with
  • applications for equal remuneration orders and requiring it to develop an equal remuneration principle
  • amending the definitions of 'employee' in State industrial laws to remove existing exclusions which includes:
    • persons engaged in domestic service in a private home
    • persons remunerated wholly by commission, percentage reward or piece rates
    • persons with a disability in supported employment.
Critically, these exclusions have been identified by the Commonwealth government as a barrier to Australia ratifying the International Labour Organization Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. The protocol aims to support the global fight against forced labour, people trafficking and modern slavery and these amendments will ensure that Western Australian laws are compliant with the Protocol.

The amendments will ensure that no category of employee is denied employment protections:
  • providing greater power for the WAIRC to vary the scope of awards to ensure that all State private sector employees are covered by an award, except for those not traditionally award-covered
  • modernising the Long Service Leave Act 1958 and introducing penalties for noncompliance with the Act
  • increasing penalties for breaches of employment laws and strengthening industrial inspector powers, and
  • addressing the lack of certainty as to which industrial relations jurisdiction applies to Western Australian local government.
The government has already amended the Industrial Relations Act 1979 to abolish the position of President of the WAIRC – a recommendation of the final report of the review.

The review was undertaken by Senior Counsel Mark Ritter and Forrestfield MLA Stephen Price.

More information is available here.

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