Changes will not create jobs

Rowena Barrett, an Associate Professor at Monash University, says there is no convincing evidence that the government’s plan to exempt companies with 100 or less employees from new unfair dismissal laws will create new jobs as the government argues.

‘I believe exempting small business from unfair dismissal laws, and thereby removing rights from new employees in small business, will worsen the quality of small business jobs and make it even harder for small business to attract skilled, experienced and committed employees,’ she said.

Barrett said it is questionable whether small businesses have been disadvantaged by the current provisions of the Act – because the AIRC is required to take account of the size of the business when examining cases of unfair dismissal.

‘New employees can be dismissed without recourse to the unfair dismissal provisions during a three month period. Moreover, unfair dismissal is a symptom of a wider problem – namely poor human resource management practices in many small businesses. The proposed reforms will do nothing to redress these problems and may exacerbate them.’

3 more things nurses could lose

  1. Reasonable workloads clause NSWNA members say their number one concern is the crippling workloads they carry every day. We’ve fought hard for a long time to win this legal right to a reasonable and safe workload. But under the government’s changes it could be stripped out from our award.
    ‘A step backwards’
    ‘I’d hate to lose the workloads clause, we’ve worked so hard for it. It has been very good for nurses. It makes people aware of what they should put up with. It makes nursing better – they can’t just work you into the ground if things are going too far and it becomes unsafe. It would be a step backwards if it went out of the award. I’d be annoyed.’ Robyn Smith, RN, Maitland Hospital
  2. Penalty rates
    Penalty rates have been fought for over many decades to compensate for working unsociable hours and for the effects of shiftwork. Penalty rates amount to about 22% of income for those on rotating shifts.
    ‘Extremely shortsighted’
    ‘Penalty rates make nursing palatable. Nurses often miss out on family occasions or, if they are young, on going out because of the hours. Penalty rates are some compensation for that. Without them it will be hard to attract young people to nursing. It’s extremely shortsighted.’
    John Farry, RN, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  3. RDOs
    A treasured condition that was won after big battles in the 1980s. To date the government has not confirmed that RDO arrangements would not be protected from potential employer attack. RDO rights have not been guaranteed.
    ‘RDO rights under threat’
    Nurses see their RDO as a mental health day and sick leave would increase if we lost RDOs. It’s a chance to recuperate from the stresses and strains of our job and to meet family responsibilities that are otherwise difficult when you are a shift worker. To lose RDOs would be a very negative thing.
    Wendy Jones, RN Port Macquarie Private Hospital