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FW Act,
Making it Fair
& Low
Paid Women

Anne Junor

Notes for
Women and Work Research Group

wwrg@econ.usyd.edu.au



Pay Equity Workshop

Friday 18 December 2009



Safety net


Modern Awards plus NES



In addition to annual reviews, modern award minimum
wages can be varied:



In 4
-
yearly reviews
for work
value reasons (s.156(3))
-

nature of
work; level of skill, responsibility (s.156 (4))


Outside the 4
-
yearly period to achieve MA objectives
s.157(2) taking into account current national
minimum wage order.


To remove ambiguities or correct errors(s.160)


On referral by HREOC (s.161).


MIF: Include ER as objective of MAs (R. 9); Amend
s.156(4) and s. 157 to include evidence of historical
undervaluation on gender
basis (R 7
-
8); Funding of
pursuit of ER Orders (R. 5); Use of SDA in Fed
(Magistrates) Court (R 19
-
21).



Individual flexibility arrangements


Term in MA allowing variation of a MA term by
individual arrangements covering when work is
performed; overtime rates; penalty rates; allowances;
or leave loading


Qualifications: genuine need and agreement; BOOT



Asian Women at Work


fear of employer abuse
(Zhang, 2009)


MIF: Amend Act s. 65 to require lodgement of individual
flexibility arrangements with Fair Work Australia
(R.13). Is simple lodgment enough??


Award/agreement
-
free workers


NES cannot be undercut, but


Employees may agree to either or both of:

(a) extra annual leave in exchange for foregoing
an equivalent amount of pay; and

(b) extra personal/carer’s leave in exchange for
foregoing an equivalent amount of pay

(S 129; Regulations).

MIF: Extend right to request to casuals (R.14)


Earnings by wage setting arrangements


Aust
2006



Women’s

hrly rate

$30

$15

$20

Ratio female/male hourly earnings

Rob Bray FAHCSIA

0.75 0.8 0.85 0.9 0.95 1.00 1.05 1.10

Award only

Registered collective


agreement

Registered

Individual

agreement

Unregistered

Individual

agreement

Low paid bargaining


Bargaining representatives may apply for a low
-
paid
authorisation

in
relation to a proposed multi
-
enterprise agreement.


If authorisation is in place and agreement impossible, FWA
may

make a
low
-
paid workplace
determination
.


FWA
must

make an
industrial action related workplace determination
if:


a termination of industrial action instrument is made, without settlement


FWA
must

make a
bargaining related workplace determination

where a
serious breach of a bargaining order, and matters not settled.


MIF: Amend
Act to impose legal obligation on parties to bargain to achieve pay
equity, and FWA not approve an agreement unless the agreement is
necessary to achieve pay equity or implements it (R. 15)

FWA to require employers of significant numbers of NESB workers to provide
explanations of agreements in employees’ own language (R. 16).




Low
-
paid CALD and Indigenous women and women
with disabilities


2006
CEDAW country
review

critical of Australia’s record in
remedying inequities experienced by Indigenous, culturally and
linguistically diverse (CALD) women, and women with disabilities, as
well as refugees and trafficked
women. PE Inquiry (pp. 321ff):


Working
Women’s Centres of South
Australia
-

Indigenous
pay gap
in 2001 of
81% for managers
, 73
% (professionals) , 56% (labourers)
-

absence of baseline data
hampering
policy
development.


Women
with Disabilities Australia
-

de
-
link
disability
-
related
supports and income support,
to
remove
LM participation barriers.


FECCA
-

location of CALD women in insecure and low wage jobs
reinforced by 20 year erosion of English
language programs,
ongoing
problems of overseas qualifications
recognition.

MIF:
P
riority
collection of baseline data on the workforce participation
of Indigenous women and women with disabilities (
R. 55 , 56
);
ministerial
review of
qualifications &
English language
programs;
federal
-
state
government work experience program for migrant
women (
R. 57
-
59
); targeting CALD women in publicity on paid
maternity leave (Recommendation 60);

Part Time Work


Quality PT work + greater flexibility within SER:


N
ew
, secure, non
-
gendered employment
standard, or
continuation
of flexible
alternatives
to
old
SER,
all involving
varying degrees of
precariousness?


Occ. segregation linked to occ. working hours norms (Carney)


Choice
between casual
PT
and long
-
hours
FT
time
work
-

‘working time insecurity’


MIF: WESKI database;
National Pay Equity Survey (R48, 51)

Removal of
Superannuation
Guarantee
earnings threshold,
extension
of fund access
& co
-
contributions to all employees;
fund
or modification of
Ausfund

to
consolidate
multiple
jobholders’ contributions (37
-
39
);

L
ong
service leave scheme allowing portability of service based
on equitable industry
-
based employer contributions (
R40
).



Disappointing, comparatively…

Netherlands (Burri 2009):


Most part time work offers standard open
-
ended contracts
with statutory protections and social security benefits


Act on Flexibility and Security 1999
-

end
-
to
-
end temporary

contracts must be converted to ongoing employment.


But 20% now in unregulated short
-
hours jobs

Sweden (Jonsson and Nyberg 2009):


Parents of children aged under eight can request a temporary
reduction to 75 % full time hours


But PT as underemployment


not eligible for ‘make
-
up’ social
security.

MIF:
Review of assistance to employers in providing child care
(R.61); creation of a special portfolio to develop policy on out
of school care (R. 62). Good, but no recommendations on PT



But …good on


Care work


which is predominantly PPT


Recognition of tacit service skills


many
submissions were cited on this




Scope for systematic approach to skills
identification


ASU case will set parameters.



The Spotlight Skills Recognition Tool

-

Developed for NZ
DoL

Pay and Employment Equity Unit (Commissioned on
initiative of Philippa Hall to ‘make pay equity ordinary’)

-

Skills classification framework consisting of three sets of skills


shaping
awareness, interacting/relating and coordinating

-

Five learning
-
based levels of each skill


familiarisation, fluent practice,
practised problem
-
solving, solution
-
sharing, system
-
building

-
Provides a systematic means of naming precisely, at 5 levels of experience
-
based learning, the hard
-
to
-
define, often
-
overlooked ‘people’ and ‘time
management’ skills required in service work

-
T
urns ‘soft skills’ and ‘personal qualities’ ‘

into a systematic taxonomic
framework on which recognition and career development can be based


-

Both job and person focused
-

being used as a recruitment interview item
bank in
DoL

and for individual skill audits in parts of NZ Community sector;
has also helped inform use of equitable job evaluation tool in several pay
equity cases


The Spotlight lens



1.

Familiar
-
isation

2. Automatic

Fluency

3. Proficient

problem
-
solving

4. Creative
solution
-
sharing

5. Expert
system
-

shaping

Hannah, Esther, Rosa, Ruby


Three paid workers in a women’s health collective plus a board
member
who also does some voluntary and paid work


Staff worked to the top level of some of their Spotlight skills
-

creation of
new delivery systems, public relations, mission statements and strategic
planning


Clear link between years of experience in the job and level of Spotlight skills

Regina



Sole charge employee in social service
network


Used some of her Spotlight skills to the
highest level


Identified need for training in boundary
setting, conflict management and giving
feedback in situations of unequal power, as
well as strategic planning


Resolved to ask her board for more frequent
professional supervision

Case Studies by Celia Briar, Conor Twyford

References

Burri
, S. (2009) ‘The
N
etherlands; Precarious employment in a
context of
flexicurity
’, in L. Vosko et al. (
eds
)
Gender & the
Contours of Precarious Employment
,
Routledge
, London: 127
-
142.

Carney, T. (2009) ‘The employment disadvantage of

mothers:
Evidence for systemic discrimination’
Journal of Industrial
Relations


51: 113
-
130.

Jonsson
, I. & Nyberg, A. (2009) ‘Sweden: Precarious work and
precarious unemployment’, in Vosko et al., pp. 194
-
210.

NZ Dept of
Labour

(2009) Spotlight: A Skills Recognition Tool,
DOL, Wellington

Zhang, A. (2009) Will things improve for migrant workers
?
Paper
presented at Symposium on
The Fair Work Act: Promises,
Potential, Protections and Pitfalls,
UNSW, Sydney, 21 August.