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With the NSW election coming up this weekend, what does it mean for employment and IR?

20 March 2019
NSW voters go to the polls this Saturday, 23 March. The ruling Liberal/Coalition government is running a ‘small target’ strategy on employment and IR – so much so that it has no published policy in this area for this weekend’s election. 

NSW Labor, in contrast, is proposing a far-reaching agenda in this area, including areas that have been dealt with under federal legislation in recent years (and in some cases, decades).

Their election platform includes:

  • scrapping the NSW public service pay cap;
  • establishing minimum pay and entitlements for ‘gig economy’ workers;
  • criminalising ‘wage theft’;
  • requiring court orders before employers can conduct surveillance on employees or former employees;
  • introducing a licensing scheme for labour hire companies;
  • enhancing the powers of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to deal with bullying and discrimination claims;
  • banning unpaid internships of more than two (2) weeks that are not part of a structured learning program or a recognised qualification;
  • cracking down on head franchisors for franchisee misconduct, including in relation to safety and wages;
  • expanding State anti-discrimination laws to pregnant women and those with family responsibilities. These currently apply only to NSW public servants; and
  • re-establishing the Industrial Court of NSW (abolished in 2016) to deal with health and safety prosecutions.

Given the polls are showing a tight race, including the possibility of a hung parliament, some or all of the items on this agenda may yet come to pass after this weekend. Watch this space!

If you have any questions or require further information on this legal update, please contact Sina Zevari.

Further Reading