The employment law changes currently before Parliament are part of the catch up process needed to reflect common practices already in place in today’s workplaces, David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for the Employers and Manufacturers Association told Parliament’s Transport Industrial Relations Select Committee today.
“The present law limiting a worker’s right to discuss flexible working arrangements to those with dependents is out of date,” Mr Lowe said.
“It’s sensible that anyone can ask for flexible work hours for any reason, as proposed by one of the amendments.
“Another seeks to change the current law which sets out precisely when coffee breaks can be taken. This is unworkable and openly flouted by employees and employers alike.
“The law should simply require that reasonable breaks are provided then let those involved work out the details how it should apply to them. This is what happens now – the amendment is just catching up with the modern workplace.
“Industrial action, the ultimate weapon, can cause long-term issues both within the workplace and for customers. The changes proposed are welcome as they will encourage strikes to be well considered and as orderly as possible.
“Employers acknowledge and accept union bargaining is central to our employment law. But a change is needed for when, despite everyone’s best efforts, that bargaining becomes destructive.
“The change proposed allows those involved to ask the court to let them take a break, cool off, then start again. We think this is a reasonable response to any situation that for any reason becomes emotionally super-charged.
“However it is absolute nonsense to suggest any of these changes will decrease wages,” Mr Lowe said.