Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has misled the public in her attempts to sell the business lobby’s proposal for a new category of insecure work.
Speaking to Raf Epstein on ABC Melbourne yesterday afternoon, Ms Carnell said that if workers would be disadvantaged by the category proposed by the business lobby, “then the Fair Work Commission won’t let this through and won’t embrace it. We do have a better-off overall test.”
Ms Carnell appears not to understand the nature of the better off overall test (BOOT), modern award reviews, or both.
The BOOT is a test applied to the approval of enterprise agreements that ensures people working under those agreements are better off than they would be under the relevant award.
Modern award reviews, which are the processes that the business lobby is attempting to use to introduce the new category of insecure work, are not subject to such a test.
The cuts to penalty rates – which clearly do disadvantage working people – were the result of business lobby submissions to the modern award review process.
Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
“Kate Carnell doesn’t seem understand the fundamentals of our workplace relations system and has misled working people.
“The proposed new category of insecure work, which would be introduced in aged care and several other industries if the business lobby gets their way, would not be subject to the better off overall test in any way.
“The better off overall test only applies to enterprise agreements being compared to awards. It doesn’t apply in modern award reviews – they are entirely separate processes and Ms Carnell should know that.
“This proposal of a new category of insecure work would displace permanent work, giving people no control over their hours and locking people into insecure work.
“We already have a crisis in insecure work with Australia having one of the highest rates of non-standard work in the OECD. This proposal would worsen the insecure work crisis.
“I invite Ms Carnell to correct her misleading statements and to make it clear that the consideration of this new category of insecure work would not be subject to passing the better off overall test.”