MINISTER FOR Employment and Workplace Relations Kevin Andrews confirmed his intention to introduce significant workplace reforms, including a total rewrite of the Workplace Relations Act, at a recent breakfast with 150 clients of Deacons.
Andrews said legislation would be introduced in the spring session of parliament and he would aim for it to be passed by the end of the year. Andrews’ speech covered minimum wages, enterprise bargaining and awards, dispute resolution, industrial action and safety.
He said the Government would build on changes that reinforced a move from the “one size fits all” awards to business specific enterprise bargaining. Deacons workplace relations partner Stuart Kollmorgen said understanding the key features of the changes and the existing system would be key.
He stressed the need for careful planning if businesses were to remain competitive and maintain employee support in order to smoothly introduce change resulting from the reforms. The terms on which an employee was engaged in the next six months could have a major impact on how reforms were received.
With various unions planning “blatantly unlawful” industrial action it was important for employers to know their rights, he said.
“We expect significant interest from employers in knowing how the enforcement of these rights will be affected by the reforms.”