Untrained workers will receive equal remuneration to professional counterparts if workplace changes are approved.
The nation’s new “same job same pay” rules could effectively abolish the wage gap between apprentice and experienced employees.
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and six other industry groups revealed the Fair Work Amendment Bill forces employers to pay inexperienced people the same as skilled colleagues.
“How is it fair that someone with six-months’ experience can demand the same pay as someone with six years’ experience?” MCA CEO Tania Constable said in a public statement.
“Employees should expect to be paid [based] on their experience, skills and qualifications.”
The Anthony Albanese Government-led bill promises to encourage companies to hire more people directly instead of using external staff. However, business groups believe the legislation will just remove staff motivation to work “harder or longer”. Thee bill also fails to guarantee women the same rate of pay as men.
“It does not speak of fairness and justice as its name falsely represents,” the groups said.
“Workplace rigidity will ensure these opportunities for growth will either go begging, or companies will be forced to endure a never-ending rollercoaster of hiring and firing as project development, construction and commodity prices rise or fall.”
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry claimed outsourced employees are already paid more than directly hired counterparts.
“Claims that labour hire workers across the economy are paid less than employees are patently false. On average labour hire employees are earning more than their permanent counterparts,” CEO Andrew McKellar said.
The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) stressed its earlier statement that labour hire crew receive about $4700 less than permanent workers annually.
“It is a very common scenario to see two workers with the same experience doing the same job side by side but one is paid less purely because they are labour hire and not a direct employee,” general secretary Grahame Kelly said in a public statement.
MEU suggested proponents could pay experienced team members even more.
“Employers are always welcome to reward skills and experience and we wish they would. Contractors deserve to be paid more if they are specialist or meeting genuine short-term demand,” Kelly said.
Other supporting industry groups include the Business Council Of Australia, Council Of Small Business Organisations Australia, Master Builders Australia, National Farmers Federation Recruitment and Consulting and Staffing Association.
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