Workplace flexibility is vital to recovery of Australian economy

“To enable the Australian economy to successfully navigate out of the current crisis, increased workplace flexibility is essential,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

Key areas that need to be given thorough attention by the Australian Government and the Commonwealth Parliament over the coming months are:

  • Australia’s highly complex award system: Major changes are needed to the relevant provisions in the Fair Work Act to make the award system much simpler for employers and employees.
  • Australia’s enterprise bargaining system: Major changes are needed to the enterprise bargaining laws in the Fair Work Act to encourage employers and employees to enter into enterprise agreements that suit their needs. Over recent years, the number of enterprise agreements in Australia has declined substantially due to the excessive complexity of the system.
  • Casual employment: Casuals make up 20% of the Australian workforce, providing vital flexibility to employers and employees. The Fair Work Act needs to be amended to define a casual employee in a simple and clear manner to address the uncertainty caused by the Federal Court’s Workpac v Skene decision which is operating as a deterrent to the employment of casuals.

“The COVID-19 crisis necessitates an approach to IR reform that does not just tinker around the edges. A lot can and must be done to achieve a more productive, flexible and fair workplace relations system. A much more productive and flexible WR system can be achieved, without compromising fairness for all parties,” Mr Willox said.

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