Hit and miss: Fair Work Act review

Published on Fri, 03/08/2012, 12:00:06

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The independent review of the Fair Work Australia Act has produced a mixed bag of feelings from retailers.

The review evaluated the operation of the Fair Work Act and feedback contained in over 250 written submissions from a range of employers, employees, unions, community groups, lawyers and governments.

According to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), the review managed to identify technical areas in need of improvement as part of the long-awaited review.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA will work with Government to further improve those technical areas identified that are currently lacking.

Meanwhile, the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond said the recommendation to cap the number of public holidays that penalty rates are paid on around the country is a win for retailers.

 “The recommendation on public holidays would mean retailers know there are 11 days only each year where penalty rates will apply and can budget more effectively,” she said.

“It means organisations that operate across the country can have one uniform approach that will cover all of their workers. It would mean a much more efficient system with workers treated equally around the country.”

However, retailers expressed their disappointment about the review’s failure to deal with BOOT - the Better Off Overall Test - being applied to the whole workforce in an enterprise agreement.

“However, retailers had also called for the BOOT to be applied across enterprise bargaining agreements to the workforce as a whole, rather than on an individual basis. The review panel only recommends that Fair Work Australia should continue to monitor the application of the BOOT - which is a limp response at best,” Osmond said.

“On the whole the Review is rather a missed opportunity, with the Panel’s assessment that the legislative framework for industrial relations has not contributed to slowing productivity mystifying to say the least.”


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