IR measures to help the parties win an election
With the Federal Election just around the corner, the major parties have proposed variations in the way they will implement IR changes.
With the recent spotlight on companies underpaying wages to foreign workers both parties are looking to increase penalties for those employers deliberately exploiting workers.
Check out below how they might apply to your business:
Fair Work Ombudsman enforcement powers
The Fair Work Ombudsman can require employers to produce records or documents.
Give compulsory evidence gathering powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
New penalty provisions relating to the obstruction of Fair Work Inspectors and the provision of false or misleading information to Fair Work Inspectors.
Increase penalties for underpayment
If you underpay an employee you are liable for a civil penalty of up to:
- $10,800 per breach (60 penalty units) if a natural person; or
- $54,000 per breach (300 penalty units) if a corporation.
Increase maximum penalties tenfold for employers who deliberately and systematically underpay workers and fail to keep proper records.
New offence where an employer pays the correct wages to employees, but then forces them to repay a proportion of their wages in cash.
New offence where franchisors and parent companies fail to deal with FW Act breaches exploitation by franchisees or subsidiaries to make franchisors and parent companies liable in situations where they should reasonably have been aware of the breaches and could reasonably have taken action to prevent them from occurring.
Franchisors who have taken reasonable steps to educate their franchisees about their workplace obligations and have assurance processes in place will have a defence
Regulation of trade unions and officials
The Fair Work Commission and Courts can suspend or disqualify union officials from holding an entry permit. There are no existing powers regarding persons whom hold office within industrial organisations.
Give courts powers to disqualify union officials from continuing to hold office where they have been repeatedly found to have breached workplace laws.
Require greater disclosure of union financial dealings, including whether a union or union officials would receive any benefit as a "direct or indirect consequence" of a proposed enterprise agreement.
Require greater disclosure of loans, grants and donations by unions.