Australia set to pass bill supporting multi-employer bargaining

When introduced, the new legislation will allow employees from across different workplaces to collectively negotiate pay rises.
By: | November 30, 2022

The industrial relations reform, which would enshrine multi-employer bargaining, is likely to pass parliament this week after the government struck a deal with independent senator David Pocock.

According to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the laws would see wages move after a period of stagnant growth. 

“What we’re doing is changing the system so that there is better bargaining across the board,” he told ABC Radio. “We create a culture where there’s a recognition that it is in employers’ and employees’ interests to sit down and negotiate in a fair way to achieve win-wins.”

Under agreed changes to the legislation, the government will set up an independent body to review social support payments before every federal budget. 

Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be excluded from single-interest multi-enterprise bargaining. Those with fewer than 50 employees will have extra safeguards if they want to opt out of multi-employer bargaining, while the minimum bargaining period will also be increased from six to nine months. 

READ: Most Australians support multi-employer bargaining proposal

Albanese added, “It is about empowering the Fair Work Commission but it’s also about empowering employees. We want to make sure that this isn’t something that is imposed, we want to make sure that both workers and business have an opportunity to have a fair input into the industrial relations system.”