State IR news briefs - WA and Qld

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State IR news briefs - WA and Qld

The WA Government has rejected claims by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews that it has set a precedent for workers cashing in two weeks of their annual leave; and the Qld Department of Industrial Relations recovered a record $9.

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The WA Government has rejected claims by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews that it has set a precedent for workers cashing in two weeks of their annual leave; and the Qld Department of Industrial Relations recovered a record $9.9 million in wages for Queensland workers in financial year 2004-05.

 

No WA precedent for cashing in holidays, says Minister 

The WA Government has rejected claims by Federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews that it has set a precedent for workers cashing in two weeks of their annual leave.

WA Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke said Andrews is ‘clutching at straws’ with his claim.

‘Kevin Andrews is deliberately misrepresenting the WA situation,’ Kobelke said.

‘The fact is we had a system in WA under [the previous Liberal Government of Richard Court] where vulnerable workers were being forced to sign workplace agreements, one of the conditions of which was often giving up all four weeks of their annual leave.

‘Independent research found that, under the Court Government, nearly half of all full-time, part-time and fixed term workplace agreements in WA had all of their annual leave entitlement absorbed into the hourly rate of pay.’

Changes by Labor

He said that after the Gallop Government came into power in 2001 workplace agreements were scrapped and additional protections were put in the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act to prevent workers from being coerced into forfeiting their annual leave.

Kobelke said the amendments to the leave provisions of the Act - which affected only a small minority of WA people - allowed two weeks of annual leave to be cashed in.

‘The ability to cash out annual leave is not available to the vast majority of WA workers, and nor would we want it to be,’ he said.

‘The truth is that the great bulk of WA workers enjoy a set four weeks annual leave.’

Kobelke said the government has been reviewing the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 with a view to increasing the standard to a set four weeks.

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Cashing-in leave entitlements

Qld workers recover $9.9m in underpaid wages

The Department of Industrial Relations recovered a record $9.9 million in wages for Queensland workers in financial year 2004-05.

Qld Industrial Relations Minister Tom Barton said more than 8200 wage complaints were investigated and finalised and 239 prosecutions carried out during the year.

OHS too

He said Workplace Health and Safety Queensland carried out 188 prosecutions in 2004-2005, and employers breaching the state’s workplace health and safety laws were fined $3.5 million.

Almost 21,000 workplaces were visited and more than 13,000 improvement notices issued.

The Electrical Safety Office carried out more than 1500 investigations, with fines and costs for people breaching electrical safety laws totalling nearly $145,000.

‘Most employers are doing the right thing by their employees but industrial and safety laws have to be firmly enforced because every worker has a right to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and to return home safely to their families each day,’ he said.

Related

Payment of wages
 

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