On 9 December 2020, the Australian Government introduced the Fair Work Act (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill into the Australian Parliament. The Bill is expected to come to a vote in the Senate in early March 2021.
The government claims that ‘more flexibility’ is needed for employers to create new jobs and get Australians back to work. They say that businesses that were ‘hit hard’ during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shut-down need to have our workplace rules relaxed so they can hire more workers and return to profitability.
This isn’t true. Big employers in Australia already have far more power to dictate the rights and wages of their workers than at any time in the last century. For years before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Australian workers had some of the highest rates of insecure and casual work in the developed world and had gone for the better part of a decade without a real wage rise.
To make the contents of the Bill more accessible to the regular people whose work it will impact, Per Capita has prepared this briefing note, which lays out the Bill’s provisions and the arguments against them clearly and concisely.