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The new paradigm – IR implications

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The Labor minority government promises more of the same with the Fair Work Act and is likely to rely upon the Greens’ balance of Power in the Senate from July 2011 to legislate new policies.

Senator Chris Evans has been appointed Workplace Relations Minister in the Gillard minority government.  Senator Evans, 52, who has been the Labor government’s Immigration Minister since the 2007 election, replaces Simon Crean, who took over Julia Gillard’s workplace portfolio when she became Prime Minister in June this year.

New Developments

The Government has announced plans to:

  • Introduce a taxpayer funded 18 week parental leave scheme at the minimum wage from next year
  • Replace the GEERS scheme with a Fair Entitlements Guarantee that will make employees’ redundancy entitlements uncapped
  • Increase the compulsory superannuation guarantee from 9% to 12% by the end of the decade.

The Greens

The new member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, is an IR lawyer and the Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate after July.  The likelihood is that the ALP is unlikely to pursue controversial legislation until the new Senate is formed, which will be more inclined to approve ALP IR policies than the current Senate.

During the election campaign the Greens sought to highlight their plans to seek to amend the Fair Work Act to extend employees’ rights, introduce improved flexible work entitlements and push for a six month paid parental leave scheme and push for a greater role for unions.

The Greens would also seek to extend unfair dismissal protections to casual, fixed term and probationary workers and ensure employees of small businesses have equal rights to challenge the termination of employment.

For further information regarding the Fair Work Act, please contact one of our experienced Workplace Relations Lawyers.

Author: Charles Cody