Re-write of IR reforms needed

CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell (right) with Chief Economist Aaron Morey (centre) and Workplace Relations Director Ryan Martin addressing the Senate Committee hearing in Perth

CCIWA is calling for the Federal Government to release the full details of reported amendments to its radical industrial relations (IR) reforms. 

The Government has suggested – via media reports – it will amend parts of the Closing Loopholes Bill to allow casuals to work regular hours if they want to, and remove fines for misclassifying a worker’s casual employment status.  

This comes after significant pressure from CCIWA and other business groups. 

While recognising the reported concessions, CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell says unresolved issues persist within the Bill. 

“The devil will be in the detail when it comes to any amendments the Government plans to make,” he says. 

“While it appears some concessions have been made, this Bill will still introduce a complex and unwarranted new test to determine if a worker is casual, and employers could still be forced to convert workers to permanent even when they have reasonable business grounds to keep them as casual. 

“The best course of action is to completely rewrite these radical reforms.” 

A recent survey by CCIWA finds 53% of businesses say they would no longer hire casuals if the proposed Bill went ahead as planned. Main concerns included casual workers having the right to become part-time after six months – including possible backpay claims – with significant penalties for non-compliance. 

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has joined with several employer organisations to call for the Government to “go back to the drawing board” on its proposed IR reforms. 

“What we are seeing now is simply an attempt at trying to patch a sinking boat with a post-it note,” the joint statement says. 

“We are unconvinced that reported changes by the Government will fix what is a fundamentally flawed Bill. 

“We are yet to see any detail and there remains significant unanswered questions regarding what is reportedly proposed by the Government.” 

ACCI CEO Andrew McKellar says the increased red tape and significant compliance costs have not been modelled or properly considered.  

He says the existing definition of casual employment provides certainty and already offers adequate pathways to part-time or full-time employment. 

“This legislation is fundamentally flawed and needs to be completely redone, not patched up with piecemeal amendments,” McKellar says. 

“Recent discussion surrounding casual employment is meaningless. No detail has been provided about these so-called concessions.” 

CCIWA’s full submission to the Senate Committee can be read here.  

Are you concerned about the Federal Government’s IR reforms? Click here for more information or get in touch with our workplace experts today by calling our Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or CCIWA Members can book a free consultation with one of our employment lawyers by emailing [email protected].      

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