John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    State IR changes boost minimum employment conditions

    7/07/2006 1:15 PM

    About 300,000 Western Australian workers are to benefit from new State industrial relations legislation that commenced on July 4.

    Employment Protection Minister John Bowler said the reforms were in stark contrast to the Howard Government’s controversial industrial relations changes.

    “These reforms recognise the contribution that workers have made to WA’s booming economy,” Mr Bowler said.

    “However, John Howard and Peter Costello have forgotten that the economy is only as good as the working women and men supporting it.”

    The Labour Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2006 amended various Acts dealing with minimum leave conditions and wages.

    Mr Bowler said the changes to minimum leave entitlements were imperative in light of an increasingly competitive labour market.

    “The legislation improves long service leave entitlements in the private sector, as well as unpaid parental leave entitlements,” he said.

    “There is no doubt that employers with flexible working arrangements have an edge over competitors in terms of attracting and retaining staff.”

    Private sector employees will now be entitled to take long service leave after 10 years of service, with a pro rata entitlement on termination of employment after seven years.

    Employees can request up to 104 weeks’ unpaid parental leave, and to return to work after parental leave on modified working arrangements such as part-time work.

    While the improvements will mainly benefit employees in the State system, a number of employees in the Federal system will also benefit from the changes to long service leave.

    The Minister said that in addition to improving minimum leave entitlements, the legislation also helped protect WA workers from the so-called WorkChoices legislation.

    “The Howard Government has established a new wage-setting body designed to cut minimum wages over time,” he said.

    “The Howard Government has removed any scrap of fairness from agreement-making and individual agreements can be used to wipe-out award standards such as meal breaks, overtime and public holiday penalties.

    “Our reforms will protect workers and help to promote collective bargaining in the Federal system.”

    Minister's office: (08) 9222 9699