After all the uncertainty, it's back to ALP workplace relations policy for Australia's employers.

Last week's Independents backing for the ALP to maintain Government has cleared a path for the Government to implement its existing policies and pre-election policies.

These policies include:

  • Compulsory superannuation guarantee increases - from 9 per cent to 12 per cent by the end of the decade.
  • The GEERS Scheme that pays out entitlements on corporate employer insolvency being replaced by the Fair Entitlements Guarantee to extend the current entitlements to include unpaid redundancy up to a maximum of four weeks for each year of service.
  • Paid Parental Leave - a taxpayer-funded 18-week parental leave scheme at the minimum wage from next year, together with the election promises made by the Government (such as fathers’ / partners’ entitlement to 2 weeks paid leave). Employers should prepare for the introduction of PPL. Employers should review any policies, contracts and industrial instruments they have which currently provide for paid parental leave to determine what their obligations will be when the statutory PPL scheme commences.

In our Election Briefings conducted for clients in August, we indicated that our experience and the statistics reveal that the Unfair Dismissal and Adverse Action Claims impacts on small business are real, with:

  • 5,208 unfair dismissal claims lodged in the second half of 2009
  • 7,994 unfair dismissal claims lodged across the 12 months ended 30 June 2009
  • Adverse Action Claims on the rise, with the ALP now able to claim a mandate for the breadth of this law which had not been announced in policy before the 2007 election.

These trends are set to continue.

A "watch this space" issue is whether the Green-Labor pact will see any Greens industrial relations becoming Government policy.