Australian News

FEATURED AUSTRALIA BUSINESS REPORT: Same Job, Same Pay, Changes So What is the Government Proposing ?


This is our daily post that is shared across Twitter & Telegram and published first on here with Kindness & Love XX on

#AceNewsRoom in Kindness & Wisdom provides News & Views @acenewsservices

Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: June.08: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – ‘ Same job, same pay’ changes have seen business groups launch a campaign against the new laws


The federal government’s “same job, same pay” changes to workplace laws are emerging as 2023’s big industrial relations brawl.

A pair of hands prepares to tear up a piece of paper labelled "reward for experience".
Business groups have mounted a national campaign against the federal government’s proposed workplace reforms.(Minerals Council of Australia)none

What is the government proposing?

The laws haven’t been written yet, but a coalition of business groups have launched a pre-emptive campaign to try and kill off the changes, warning they will “weaken the economy and punish workers”.

The government says it’s closing a loophole that is leaving a relatively small number of workers worse off for no good reason.

So what do we know?

Surging up and scaling down

Plenty of companies rely on labour hire firms as part of their business.

Industries like agriculture, hospitality and construction constantly see their workloads contracting and expanding, meaning they need to be able to scale up their staffing fast.

That’s where labour hire comes in — providing a ready-made workforce that businesses can put on nearly instantly, and scale back when the work is no longer there.

It’s a far easier and more flexible option than going through the process of putting on additional staff, and then letting those staff go.

Labour hire firms can also fill short-term gaps in rosters, to save advertising for and hiring a whole new staff member on a very short contract.

About one in 50 people employed in Australia are employed through labour hire, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The government says it isn’t taking issue with those sorts of arrangements — and that it only wants to close a loophole leaving some workers worse off.

Closing the loop

The details of exactly what the government is proposing aren’t known yet; it hasn’t actually released any draft legislation.

But it did recently put out a consultation paper, floating ideas and seeking feedback from unions and business groups.

It spells out a fairly specific situation that it wants to address: “The limited circumstances in which host employers use labour hire to deliberately undercut the bargained wages and conditions set out in enterprise agreements.”

Basically, that means a labour hire worker should be paid like an ordinary employee of the business they’re working in.

The concern is that some companies bring labour hire workers in, and those workers are paid below what ordinary employees are entitled to under their enterprise agreement.

The government and unions have suggested some businesses deliberately do so to reduce their costs, but business groups like the Australian Chamber of Commerce Industry (ACCI) dispute that and argue there is little evidence.

Labour hire workers are employed and paid by labour hire firms, so while they might be working for a particular business, their pay is still coming from the labour hire company.

The government wants to obligate employers to ensure the wages workers are receiving are the same as they would be entitled to as an ordinary employee in the business they’re working in.

That might not extend to entitlements like leave and other allowances, but, again, that’s yet to be determined as the legislation is drafted.

So does that really mean ‘same job, same pay’?

The argument often put by those advocating for these laws is two people doing the same job should be paid the same amount.

Many workers have their pay determined by what they bring to the business — like experience and qualifications.

The laws will just ensure labour hire workers are paid at least what an ordinary employee would be entitled to under an enterprise agreement, before those additional factors are considered.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said that’s the crux of the problem they are trying to solve.

“There’s lots of legitimate uses for labour hire. Undercutting pay is not one of them,” he said.Employment Minister Tony Burke.(ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)none

The government also insists it’s not interested in reducing anyone’s pay — so if a labour hire worker is being paid more a directly-employed worker, for example as a casual or short-term hire, they won’t be impacted.

What are business groups concerned about?

A coalition of business groups have launched a pre-emptive campaign against the new laws, getting in before the government releases the legislation.

It includes groups like the ACCI, Business Council of Australia, Minerals Council and National Farmers Federation.

The campaign argues that “by law, employers will have to pay workers with little knowledge or experience exactly the same as workers with decades of knowledge and experience”.

That is flatly rejected by the government.

“Business (groups are) running a passionate campaign against a policy that the government’s not proposing, that the government’s not going to do, and to me, it would sound like a bad idea anyway,” Mr Burke said.

There are broader concerns the business groups have raised.

They fear the laws will make it harder to use labour hire firms, which they say will exacerbate skills shortages, and won’t lead to a lift in direct employment.

They are worried about companies getting bogged down in lengthy disputes about how two people with the “same job” should be compared, and how the “same pay” will be measured.

And they have raised concerns about small businesses and farmers, with smaller scale needs or more complex workplace arrangements.

Andrew McKellar from the ACCI said making labour hire harder to access will harm the economy.

“Many projects need this kind of employment, they operate flexibly, they might run for three months, for six months, for 12 months, they need to bring in specialised labour through a labour hire firm to make that happen,” he said.

“The risk is here that sort of investment won’t proceed at the same level if the government passes this legislation.”

Business groups have also flagged concerns about how labour hire will be defined, with the government’s consultation paper suggesting it may be broader than a “traditional labour hire arrangement”.

They are proposing a narrow definition to avoid capturing other sorts of contractor arrangements.

Given the laws are still being consulted on and drafted, it’s possible those questions will be addressed.

Where to from here?

The legislation will land in parliament in the second half of this year.

Part of the reason business groups have launched their campaign early is the laws could see a fairly smooth run through parliament.

The government managed to pass its multi-employer bargaining laws last year with the support of both the Greens and Independent Senator David Pocock, and it is possible (but not certain) it will find the same support again.

There is still lots of detail to be ironed out, like just how “same job” and “same pay” will be defined in law, and how it will deal with issues like leave and other entitlements.

And there are questions around how the laws are implemented and enforced, and who bears primary responsibility for making sure workers aren’t being underpaid.

But given the iron-clad promise from Labor prior to the election, and the size of the pre-emptive campaign from business groups, an IR fight ahead seems certain.Loading…

If you’re unable to load the form, click here.

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram:  and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and comment thank you