Passage of amended IR Bill removes huge cost risk for business

“The final passage of the Federal Government’s amended IR bill through Parliament today removes a huge cost risk for business around casual employment,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

“Vitally, the legislation provides protection to employers against ‘double-dipping’ claims by employees and ex-employees who were engaged and paid as casuals but who later claim that they are entitled to annual leave and other benefits of permanent employment. It does this by including a provision which allows the amount of the casual loading paid to an employee to be offset against any entitlements that the employee claims to be owed. This approach has obvious merit and fairness and the Government is to be congratulated for successfully removing this risk through legislation.

“The narrow failure to pass the full IR omnibus bill, which was nine months of negotiations in the making, leaves significant areas of IR reform in limbo.

“We urge the Government not to put in the too hard basket IR reforms that would help businesses to grow and create more jobs.

“The Government should persevere with critical legislative measures that would support our post-COVID recovery and which were included in the omnibus bill including measures to:

  • Create a workable Better Off Overall Test and streamlined approval requirements that will reinvigorate our enterprise agreement system;
  • Make our award system less complex and more flexible; and
  • Allow project life greenfields agreements to drive investment and jobs.

“Ai Group would give strong support to a new bill which would deliver on this much needed and relatively modest reform agenda,” Mr Willox said.

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