Minister for Employment Eric Abetz and treasurer Joe Hockey issued these terms for the inquiry in December, alongside several key areas of focus which are to be included.
Among these key areas will be:
- the needs of small business
- the impact of the Fair Work Act on job creation
- fair and equitable conditions for employees
- the maintenance of a relevant safety net of conditions for employees and productivity
- competitiveness and business investment
- red tape and the “compliance burden” for employers
- industrial conflict
- independent contracting
- patterns of engagement in the labour market
- the ability for employers to “flexibly manage and engage with their employees”
The intention of the inquiry is for the commission to make recommendations as to “how the laws can be improved to maximise outcomes for Australian employers, employees and the economy”, and “identify and quantify, as far as possible, the full costs and benefits of its recommendations.”
The Productivity Commission’s website is open for individuals or businesses to register their interest, and Abetz has urged businesses of all sized to do so.
“The inquiry needs to hear from the smallest and largest businesses, from the individual employee to the largest trade union,” he said in a statement. “This inquiry will ensure that the laws are meeting their objectives and contributing to productive, rewarding, competitive and harmonious workplaces. I encourage all interested parties to make submission on what has worked well and what needs to be improved.”
The Productivity Commission has been told that it has under a year to produce an inquiry into the Australian workplace relations system – titled ‘Productivity Commission Review of the Workplace Relations Framework’ – with a final report on the subject due in November.