After all the uncertainty, it's back to ALP workplace
relations policy for Australia's employers.
Last week's Independents backing for the ALP to maintain
Government has cleared a path for the Government to implement its
existing policies and pre-election policies.
These policies include:
Compulsory superannuation guarantee increases
- from 9 per cent to 12 per cent by the end of the
decade1. While this increase was originally conditional
on the mining 'super profits tax' being introduced, in July
2010 the Government led by the new Prime Minister reached a deal
with the major mining companies for a 'Minerals
Resource Rent Tax'. Despite the projected lower
Government tax revenues, prior to the election, it appeared that
the Government still intended to introduce the compulsory
superannuation guarantee increases. With the Minerals Resource Rent
Tax policy now in the hands of the Government, the Independents
(who may or may not support that policy) and the Greens, the future
of the compulsory superannuation guarantee increases remains in
The Howard Government's General Employee Entitlements
Redundancy Scheme (GEERS), which had been
continued under the Rudd Government, will be replaced by the
Fair Entitlements Guarantee
(FEG). The FEG will extend the current
entitlements to include all unpaid redundancy
"entitlements" (up to a maximum of four weeks for each
year of service) arising from collective agreements and contracts.
Directors or 'excluded employees' (as defined in the
Corporations Act) of the employing company and employees who earn
over the high income threshold are excluded from
Paid Parental Leave - a taxpayer-funded
18-week parental leave scheme at the minimum wage from next year,
together with the election promises made by the Government (for
example, fathers and partners entitlement to 2 weeks paid leave)
and the amendments made in the Senate immediately before the
In our Election Briefings conducted for clients in August, we
indicated that our experience and the statistics reveal that the
Unfair Dismissal and Adverse Action Claims impacts on small
business are real, with:
5,208 unfair dismissal claims lodged in the second half of
7,994 unfair dismissal claims lodged across the 12 months ended
30 June 2009
Adverse Action Claims on the rise, with the ALP now able to
claim a mandate for the breadth of this law which had not been
announced in policy before the 2007 election.
These trends are set to continue.
A "watch this space" issue is whether the Green-Labor
pact will see any Greens industrial relations becoming Government
policy. Greens policy includes to:
Legislate for a mandatory minimum for 5 weeks paid annual leave
for all employees.
Limit the tax deductibility of any executive salaries to 25
times the minimum full-time adult wage.
Abolish the ABCC and repeal the Building and Construction
Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth).
Restore the right of all employees - including casual, fixed
term and probationary workers - to challenge termination of
employment where it is unfair, with reinstatement to be the remedy
except in exceptional circumstances.3
Click here for a detailed examination of the Paid Parental
Leave Scheme - An Australian First.
1 See Superannuation – Increasing the
Superannuation Guarantee Rate to 12 Per Cent Fact Sheet at
2 See Protecting Workers Entitlement's Fact Sheet at
at pp. 82-84.
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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