A strong economy and a fair go for workers
A re-elected Keneally Labor Government will continue to safeguard workplace rights, protect vulnerable workers and improve work-life balance for families -- under its new industrial relations policy – Protecting workers.
A key feature of NSW Labor’s approach on industrial relations is the delivery of a new portable long service leave scheme for all cleaners in NSW from July 1, 2011.
This scheme will allow cleaners – some of the State’s lowest paid workers, and who typically move from employer to employer – to access long service leave for the first time.
“Protecting workers builds on Labor’s proud record of defending workers’ rights and promoting a competitive environment for businesses,” Ms Keneally said.
“Providing portable long-service leave for cleaners reflects our core principles of protecting vulnerable workers and ensuring all workers are treated fairly.
“There are approximately 44,000 workers in the NSW commercial cleaning industry and few, if any, have access to long service leave.
“Frequent changes in cleaning contracts mean cleaners are often engaged by a series of different employers despite working in the same building, school or shopping centre for long periods of time.
“This means they are unable to accrue ten years continuous service with a single employer.
“Under this policy, Labor has legislated to establish a portable long service leave scheme that recognises cleaners’ service to the industry, rather than just a single employer.
“Labor has also introduced new public holiday laws to ensure all workers have the right to spend holidays with their families, or be rewarded appropriately should they choose to work.”
In contrast, NSW Small Business shadow minister Duncan Gay has claimed NSW has too many public holidays.
Under ‘Protecting workers’, a re-elected Keneally Government will also:
- Ensure victims can access leave when experiencing domestic violence, through supporting the recently-introduced domestic violence leave clause in awards that provide public sector workers who are experiencing domestic violence five days extra leave;
- Improve work-life balance by ensuring Easter Sunday will be a public holiday from 2011, and guarantee public holidays when Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day fall on a weekend;
- Preventing stores from employing staff where retail trading restrictions apply;
- Giving local government employees the option of taking their long service leave at half the pay for double the length of time;
- Value our public sector by retaining the Government’s ‘no forced redundancies’ policy;
- Keep workers safe by maintaining NSW’s occupational, health and safety laws, which are the strongest in the country; and
- Continue comprehensive compliance and education programs in the workplace
“NSW Labor has shown it is the party that can create a strong economy while still protecting a fair go for all – and this policy builds on our record,” Ms Keneally said.
“We have shown workplace laws can achieve a balance between the rights and obligations of employees, employers and unions.
“That’s why we campaigned so hard against the Liberal Party’s extreme WorkChoices legislation.
“I am proud of our record and proud of this policy, which takes the oldest principle of Labor – a fair go for workers and their families – and applies it to the needs of today’s communities.”
- The establishment of a portable long service leave scheme will start on 1 July 2011, giving cleaners who have worked in the same place for a number of years entitlements they deserve.
- The domestic violence clause provides workers an additional 5 days of leave per year if they are subject to domestic violence. This acknowledges that most people who are experiencing domestic violence have already exhausted all their leave options. The extra 5 days will allow women to access necessary support services.
- NSW’s strong OH&S framework protects workers to ensure they come home safe to their families. This framework includes the maintenance of the reverse onus of proof and a union’s right to prosecute.
- Since 1996, the NSW Government has returned more than $53 million in underpayments to workers and their families.
- This year the NSW Government is investing $23.7 million to ensure workers, particularly young workers, migrants, women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, are well-informed about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace and that everyone is given a fair go.
Tags: cleaners, jobs, Kristina Keneally, law, policy, public holidays, worker entitlements, worker protections, workplace