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‘Tens of thousands’ of jobs saved

By Grace Ormsby · April 03 2020
Reading:
egg

Earn

‘Tens of thousands’ of jobs saved

By Grace Ormsby
April 03 2020
Reading:
egg
jobs saved

‘Tens of thousands’ of jobs saved

author image
By Grace Ormsby · April 03 2020
Reading:
egg
jobs saved

A number of Australia’s modern awards and industrial relations systems have “quietly” been reformed in an “utterly critical” move to ensure workers stay employed through the coronavirus pandemic.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has said the reforms to both modern awards and the industrial relations system have occurred “behind the scenes, in a quiet and cooperative way”.

The temporary reform is meant to last for as long as the crisis lasts, but Mr Porter said, “It has been utterly critical to saving what I believe to be tens of thousands of jobs.”

“And it’s probably fair to say that there’s been the type of change in three weeks inside the award system that you might otherwise wait 30 years to see,” he commented.

He highlighted the approval “in record time by the Fair Work Commission” of very significant changes to awards covering restaurants, hospitality and the clerks award – that collectively cover around 2 million Australian workers.

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Changes to those awards have meant “an individual worker who was performing one type of duty in one type of classification can go and move and perform another type of duty in another type of classification”, the A-G explained.

They have also facilitated working from home arrangements.

“Remarkably, some of the awards were so inflexible that it was actually unlawful to work from home, of which, of course there is a great amount occurring in Australia at the moment.”

Mr Porter also flagged they have allowed for, by agreement, things such as taking longer durations of annual leave at reduced rates.

“Those types of changes are absolutely critical. They would have saved tens of thousands of jobs.”

The Attorney-General observed that “it’s not a matter of the government claiming credit for those changes, we are here to thank the parties that have facilitated those changes”.

The gap

The Minister’s comments come after the Fair Work Commission proposed the provision of two weeks unpaid pandemic leave for all workers, and a more widespread application of extra annual leave at half pay.

The Fair Work Commission revealed on Wednesday that it has found a “regulatory gap” limiting the number of employees that can use paid personal/carer’s leave to cover a period of self-isolation.

While some employees who have contracted COVID-19 may have an entitlement to paid personal/carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards, there are millions that don’t, including casuals, the FWC explained.

“If the employer does not consent, the employee may be placed in the invidious position of either contravening public health directions or guidelines, or placing their employment in jeopardy,” the FWC said in a statement.

According to the commission, the entitlement would be available to full-time, part-time and casual employees, and in full immediately rather than accruing progressively during a year of service. 

‘Tens of thousands’ of jobs saved
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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

Join The Nest Egg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

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