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Workplace Relations Act 'failing the Just Remuneration principle'

Catholic lobbyist PolMin has suggested a poll finding that Australians work an alarming amount of unpaid overtime demonstrates that the Workplace Relations Act 1996 is "failing the long established Just Remuneration principle".

Earlier this week, a new Saulwick poll revealed that full-time workers are doing an average of a full day's overtime each week without remuneration.

"The principle of Just Remuneration is one of the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching," said PolMin. "A just wage is a wage appropriate for the labour expended by the employee in the service of the employer."

The objective of the principle is to stamp out the exploitation of employees through deliberate under payment of wages.

"The importance and universality of this principle is such that the United Nations International Labour Organisation issued a Convention in 1951 called the Equal Remuneration Convention.

"Federal Parliament enshrined the principle of Just Remuneration into Australia's industrial relations laws when it incorporated the Convention into Section 170BA of the Workplace Relations Act.

"However, the Saulwick poll is clear indication that the principle is not being followed in many workplaces across Australia. The reason is that Section 170BA is framed in such a way that it is interpreted as applying only to work carried out during the employee's normal working day and not to work carried out outside of the normal working day.

PolMin Coordinator James McGillicuddy called on Federal Parliament to amend Section 170BA so that it specifically requires the remuneration of overtime.


All work, no pay for overtime brigade (16/12/02)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations | Australian Workplace | Workplace Relations Act 1996
Catholic Social Teaching - Labour issues | Rerum Novarum

18 Dec 2002