By Clyde Mooney
The hospitality industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement for immediate FWA reforms but expects further action on most of the issues raised in the review process.
Legislation will be drafted this year to implement 17 of the recommendations to the Fair Work Act (FWA) submitted by the National Workplace Relations Council.
A uniform time limit of 21 days will be imposed on the lodgement of unfair dismissal and general protection claims, shifting from the current deadlines of 14 and 60 days respectively.
But many other questions remain, in particular the matter of a uniform number of public holidays country-wide, which the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) says has meant hotels have been "severely disadvantaged in recent years by the increasing practice of state and territory governments declaring additional public holidays".
"There are many other areas where there are differences in views, and the AHA will continue to advocate for changes to the Fair Work Act that will improve flexibility and remove unreasonable red tape for employers," said AHA National CEO, Des Crowe.
"The alignment of time limits for unfair dismissals and adverse action proceedings to 21 days is a logical and welcome reform that will help to reduce the number of frivolous and vexatious claims made against employers and ensure claimants are not ‘double dipping’.
"This will be supported by giving FWA the power to seek costs from parties that have acted unreasonably during a proceeding, including unscrupulous agents making claims on behalf of employees.
"The current penalty rate structure on public holidays means any additional days add enormously to operating costs and forces hotels to reduce their services."
The AHA said the second tranche of reforms should address the issue of public holidays and other recommendations put to the Council.