Govt called on to explain its industrial plan
THE release of the Federal Government's 10-point plan for national employment standards has left both local employers and unions wanting more detail.
Regional organiser for the Australian Services Union, Punita Boardman, said industrial relations had been a key platform in the lead-up to the last election for the ALP and they still needed to deliver.
“What we want to find out is what it all means – we need more detail,” she said. “We have awards that have a lot more than 10 standards, so how will that condensing happen? We don't want to see any workers go backwards with these modernised awards.”
Ms Boardman said the standards appeared to be a one-size-fits-all approach and was concerned that there was no mention of the powers to enforce the rights.
“What happens if bosses break the standards?” she asked. “Does the Industrial Relations Commission hold their powers? We're concerned that the right of appeal is not written in.”
Ms Boardman said that while she supported some of the initiatives, including extra leave and more flexibility for parents, she was disappointed there was no provision for maternity leave.
“What we want to see is 14 weeks' paid maternity leave across the board and catch up with other OECD counties. That's becoming an international trend. We've been left behind for 12 years and still have to catch up with the rest of the world.”
Mark Willoughby, from the Lismore Chamber of Commerce, was also left wanting more information, particularly on parental leave.
“With the increasing skill shortages there is a need to maintain skilled and competent employees in the workforce,” he said. “Reputable employers are doing this without the associated ten rules. The lack of information is particularly concerning around the parenting leave.
“As part of the election, the Labor Government promised that parenting leave would be a maximum of 12 months. If you happen to be the employer of both parents, this would no longer be the case.”