Workplace changes slated for year’s end but fight looms

Changes to workplace laws have been flagged for the end of the year in a bid to boost workers’ pay.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said he would like to have introduced the “same job, same pay” legislation to parliament this month, but consultation had not concluded.

Mr Burke hopes to introduce the bill in September when parliament next convenes, with the aim of it passing by December.

The legislation will plug a gap allowing businesses to negotiate an agreement with workers, and then pay labour hire a different rate.

The minister said the changes would not have a huge impact on the broader economy “but for individual workers who are affected by these loopholes, it’s very significant”.

He said the changes would “close down those loopholes that undercut wage growth”.

The business lobby and opposition have hit out against the changes saying they will put undue costs on employers and risk paying experienced workers the same as the new kid on the block.

The Business Council says research it commissioned shows Australians support businesses having access to labour hire when they need it.

The research found 77 per cent of respondents would be frustrated if someone with less experience or who didn’t work as hard was paid the same amount, and 75 per cent agreed companies should be able to hire temporary labour as a surge capacity.

Mr Burke has denied it would devalue a worker’s experience, saying the changes would only stop employers agreeing to a pay rate with employees and then paying labour hire less for the same job.

The government is also moving to make it easier for casuals to transition into secure work by requiring employers to offer those doing permanent hours a full-time gig.


Dominic Giannini
(Australian Associated Press)


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