New! Improved! IR laws doubleplusgood

    “While WorkChoices pared back rights to five minimum standards, Labor’s new rules write into the law 10 workplace standards and a further 10 rules covering workers on federal awards who earn less than $100,000 a year.”


The five minimum standards under the previous Tory government (under legislation tabled in Federal Parliament in November 2005, with changes coming into effect in March 2006) were otherwise known as ‘The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard (the Standard)’, and concerned:

    1. Guaranteed basic rates of pay and guaranteed casual loadings
    2. Hours of work
    3. Annual leave
    4. Personal leave and
    5. Unpaid parental leave

Based on a full-time employee working 38 hours per week and applied on a pro-rata basis according to the hours worked by the employee, this would have meant:

1. A Federal Minimum Wage or guaranteed basic rate of pay under an applicable Australian Pay and Classification Scale. For casual employees covered by a workplace agreement, a casual loading of 20 per cent is guaranteed. (The standard Federal Minimum Wage was originally set at $12.75 per hour. It was subsequently increased to $13.47 per hour on 1 December 2006 and to $13.74 per hour on 1 October 2007. In 2008 the Australian Fair Pay Commission further increased the standard Federal Minimum Wage to $14.31 per hour. This increase took effect from the first pay period on or after 1 October 2008.)

2. Maximum ordinary hours of work limited to 38 hours per week (which can be averaged over a period of up to twelve months) and reasonable additional hours.

3. Four weeks paid annual leave per year (five weeks for some continuous shift employees), except for casual workers. Up to two weeks of this can be cashed out at the employee’s written election where their workplace agreement allows it.

4. Ten days paid personal/carer’s leave per year and two days paid compassionate leave for each relevant occasion, except for casual workers. Where this paid personal leave has been used up, two days unpaid carer’s leave for each carer’s leave occasion. This unpaid leave is available to casuals.

5. For all employees other than certain casual employees, up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave.

Almost three years, 98,000 mousepads, 77,000 pens, 100,000 plastic folders and a change of Government later, under Labour, there are 10 workplace standards. The Fair Work Bill 2008 (with Bonus! explanatory memorandum) was introduced into the House of Representatives on 25 November 2008.

In a radical departure from the high standard set by the Tory Government, the Standard formerly known as Fair Pay and Conditions (FPCS) will now be known as National Employment (NES). Former student union hack (and closet Communist) Julia Gillard reckons that “The NES provide employers with the flexibility and simplicity they need while also ensuring employees’ key entitlements are protected” (which sounds just like something Stalin would say). The NES are:

    1. Maximum weekly hours of work
    2. Request for flexible working arrangements
    3. Parental leave and related entitlements
    4. Annual leave
    5. Personal/Carer’s leave and compassionate leave
    6. Community service leave
    7. Long service leave
    8. Public holidays
    9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay
    10. Fair Work Information Statement

“In the mid-19th century for example, right in the beginning of the industrialist revolution right around here in Boston, there was a rich literature of working class people, what were called factory girls, young women coming from the farms to work in the mills, or Irish artesians, immigrants in Boston, very rich literature, it was the period of the freest press ever in the country and it was very radical. They had no connection with European radicalism, they had never heard of Marx or anything else, and it was simply taken for granted that wage labor is not much different from slavery, and if you rent yourself to somebody that’s not different from selling yourself. Actually in the Civil War in the United States, a lot of the northern workers actually fought under that banner, were against chattel slavery and they were against wage slavery. And the standard slogan of the people was “the people who work in the mills ought to own them and run them”. It took a long time to drive that out of people’s heads. In the 1890s there were cities, like Homestead, Pennsylvania, that were taken over by working class people with these ideas, and they’re still there.”

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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