Simplifying modern awards and providing employers and employees with more flexibility will help achieve the common goal of saving and creating Australian jobs as we look to rebuild our economy after COVID-19.
Awards changes foreshadowed as part of the Attorney General’s Omnibus Industrial Bill are a common-sense balance of supporting both the needs of employers and employees, ACCI CEO James Pearson said.
“Between 50 and 60 per cent of jobs lost during this pandemic were in the accommodation, food, arts and recreation industries, and knowing they aren’t predicted to return in full before the end of 2025 means we needed changes to enable businesses to remain agile and, in turn, save more jobs.
“We know the JobKeeper flexibilities have been an important lifeline to businesses and their employees during the COVID crisis, so extending similar flexibilities to help transition distressed businesses is an incredibly welcome development.
“The JobKeeper flexibilities enabled employers to make changes around things like an employee’s work location or duties to match the realities of a massively disrupted trading environment. They were well thought out, contained appropriate safeguards and are now familiar to the industries.
“Similar flexibilities will help keep people connected to their employer and minimise further job losses in the face of near-term future economic uncertainty.
Part-time flexibilities will also help to lessen the reliance of many employers on casual employment.
“The current part-time provisions in most awards are rigid and unnecessarily prescriptive and discourage employers from engaging people on a part-time basis instead of casual,” Mr Pearson said.
“The status quo is also locking part-time employees out of opportunities for more work and more income, particularly students, parents and carers.
“Many business owners tell me they feel a great responsibility to their staff and these changes will help to support those relationships, and recover lost jobs.”