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New Workplace Relations Bill Targeting Flexible Work Options and Better Pay

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The federal government hopes to shake up wages in new legislation introduced in parliament on Thursday.

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill also aims to provide more flexible work options for people who might need them.

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Minister of Labor Relations Tony Burk says it’s about creating opportunity and ease.

“So the purpose of this labor bill is to facilitate the conclusion of agreements for different workplaces.

“Women still bear the primary responsibility for care work and are more likely to request flexible working arrangements,” he said in a statement.

“To access flexibility they have to manage work and care, they are often forced to leave the labor market or take a lower paid or less secure job.

“It plays a major role in widening the gender pay gap,” he said.

Described as “a seismic shift” in national industrial relations laws, not all companies are on board with the whole kit-and-caboodle.

“This is a major concern for businesses as we could really see a seismic shift in the way trading is structured in Australia,” Andrew McKellar of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Which we don’t want to see as an outcome that will lead us back to standard industry-wide agreements, where it’s one size fits all.

“Potentially this bill goes too far, it will get the balance wrong,” he warned.

But the ACTU secretary Sally McManus said employer groups opposing the plan were not unexpected.

“These are the same people who have refused workers wage increases for 10 years,” she told the ABC.

“So if they think there’s a law that’s going to make it easier for workers to get pay rises, of course they’re going to oppose it.

– ACT Secretary Sally McManus

The bill will also ban confidentiality clauses so that staff can discuss their salary.

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