Employer-employee relationship at core of changes to Fair Work Act

07 Apr 2020 |

Preserving the critical employee-employer relationship is at the core of changes to the Fair Work Act that will deliver the lifesaving $130 Billion Job Keeper package going to Parliament tomorrow, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

ACCI CEO James Pearson said: “We have reviewed the proposed legislation. It preserves the critical employer-employee relationship through balanced and temporary measures and will give business and workers a fighting chance to get through the coronavirus crisis.

“The JobKeeper legislation, including changes to the Fair Work Act, is critical to keeping businesses in business and Australians in work.

“For many businesses, maintaining the relationship with their employees, even in situations where hours are reduced or an employee needs to take on a second job, will mean a faster recovery when this crisis starts to lift.

“Being able to kickstart a business after partial shut down or hibernation with the same employees on board will make a big difference.

“The changes will allow employers, across the next six months, to alter the number of hours worked by eligible employees, but not their hourly rate.

“Flexibility around days worked, and when leave is taken will also support businesses and jobs, and help people adapt to changing circumstances.”

Mr Pearson said the temporary, targeted amendments to the Fair Work Act, specifically designed to help combat the impact of the pandemic, will enable many employers of hard hit businesses to participate in the scheme, and to provide their employees with an income.

“Our members have been very clear with Government that our industrial relations legislation needs to be part of the solution if counter-pandemic measures are to succeed.

“We appreciate that amendments to Australia’s principal industrial relations statute are historically some of the most politically divisive. With that in mind, we applaud the effective, productive negotiations between the government, employers and unions, led by the Attorney General, Christian Porter.”

This builds on ACCI’s very successful negotiations with Ai Group and the ACTU to deliver urgent amendments to three critical workplace awards.

“In addition to the Minister, I’d like to personally thank Innes Willox from Ai Group, the ACTU’s Sally McManus and Michele O’Neil and Fair Work Commission President Iain Ross,” Mr Pearson said.

“Employers and unions have delivered a constructive, sober, non-partisan approach to changes in the award system. We urge Parliament to repeat this cooperative approach when the legislation to deliver the unprecedented Job Keeper package comes before it on Wednesday.”

Marie Hogg

Senior Adviser - Media

P  |  0431 299 518

E  |  [email protected]

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