With the 2019 Federal Election quickly approaching, it is timely to examine proposed changes to industrial relations and employment law landscape in Australia. It is important for employers and employees to remain aware of potential changes to laws which could limit or broaden their rights under the national employment law.
The following is a comparison table between the current and proposed policies under the current Liberal-National Coalition (Coalition) and the proposed reforms articulated by the Australian Labour Party (ALP):
|Family and Domestic Violence Leave||Employees are entitled to five days’ unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year under the National Employment Standards||The ALP has committed to increasing the family and domestic leave to 10 days’ paid leave.|
|Penalty Rates||No proposed change to setting the minimum wage and penalty rate cuts decision by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).||The ALP has introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Restoring Penalty Rates) Bill 2018 (Cth) to declare that any penalty rate determination made by the FWC after 21 June 2017 will be of no effect, and that a modern award cannot be varied to reduce an employee’s take-home pay.|
This amendment would only apply prospectively.
|Superannuation Guarantees||The Coalition has not indicated that it will reform superannuation guarantees under the NES. The Coalition is likely to maintain the current framework.|
|Enterprise Bargaining||The Coalition has not indicated that it will propose changes to laws regulating protected and unprotected industrial action. The Coalition is likely to maintain the current framework.||The ALP will consider amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FWA) to allow workers to bargain at an industry wide level rather than at the individual workplace level.|
|Casual Employees||The Coalition has not announced that it plans to insert a legal definition of “casual employment” into the FWA.|
|Industrial Manslaughter||The Coalition does not support changes to industrial manslaughter laws and supports the current framework.||The ALP aims to introduce an industrial manslaughter offence into state/territory criminal codes within its first year.|
|Whistleblower Laws||The Coalition supports the new private sector whistleblower regimes which commence on 1 July 2019 but does not support a reward scheme or a ‘Whistleblower Protection Authority’.|
|General Proposed Changes|