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HI6008 - Business Research Project - Holmes Institute

Purpose of this assessment is to ensure each student is able to contribute to the construction of a written report demonstrating their understanding of the business research paradigm, appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Assignment - the Business research Project Report - is to ensure each student is able to contribute to the construction of a written report demonstrating their understanding of the business research paradigm, appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Topic - Labour Trends in Australia

1.1 Introduction

Labor trends refer to the conditions of labors in a country and the measures taken by the judiciary of the country in order to improve conditions of the labors and give them a wholesome environment to work. Australia is a nation that was backward in terms of providing facilities to labors/employees of any organisation hence lot of discrimination and inhuman activities have taken place like workplace discrimination, gender pay gap, wrongful termination of employees and other actions. The subsequence sections will give an idea about such occurrences, remedial measures and rights given to employees to deal with illicit acts in the workplace.

1.2 Modern Slavery

The modern slavery concept has impacted the legislative landscape of Australia for a long time. The modern slavery legislation is under consideration at present. The liability and accountability of large entities within Australia remain limited due to the lack of legislation requiring entities to conduct required diligence with respect to doing away with modern slavery. Under the Criminal Code Act of 1995, 50 prosecutions have taken place in relation to modern slavery. Yet instances of modern slavery continue to plague Australian in organization's supply chains, operations and structures with no preventive measures taken against them.

In 2018, the House of Representatives passed the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 and is presently under the Senate (Chapman, 2018). It is expected that the Bill once turns into an act will help deal with the issue or modern slavery in Australia and protect employees from undergoing such experiences.

1.3 Domestic violence

The Fair Works Commission issued a decision in 2018 that domestic and family violence are issues that impact workplace and requires particular actions to be taken. It decided that employees will be given access to unpaid domestic and family violence leaves, five per annum, to all employees irrespective of his level of experience. It is done to facilitate that such problems cannot be dealt with during the ordinary hours beyond work (Adamson et al., 2017).
It is expected that such problems will increase productivity and help deal with maintaining a work-life balance.

1.4 Transparency of pay and gender pay gap

Pay secrecy clauses in the employment contracts are a major problem with employers in Australia. The pay secrecy gap consists of gender pay gap. It is at an alarming figure of 14.6 % depending on full time and average weekly earnings. The gap grows larger when the pay levels are hidden; however, it is almost negligible when the pay is open to all, and for instance when the employer provides the minimum wage rate according to the terms of an award.

The Labor opposition is presently giving a push to make Australian companies with greater than 1000 employees report openly of pay gap of gender issue and prohibit any pay secrecy clauses (Berns, 2018). It is expected to make a difference and employee payment will turn out to be transparent.

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1.5 Protection of employees against discrimination

The Fair Works Act of 2009 plays a pivotal role in providing ‘general protection' to employees during their work in organisations. The attributes covered by the Federal Works Act include color, race, sexual preference, sex, age, physical or mental stability, pregnancy, family and career responsibility, political opinion, religion, social origin and national extraction. Protection against discrimination is provided by state and territory anti-discrimination legislation and a range of federal legislation.

In Australia there exist 2 categories of discrimination namely indirect discrimination and direct discrimination. Direct discrimination takes place when the concerned person gets less favourable treatment as compared to a person who do not have the protected attribute in the same circumstances, where the treatment is basically causally related to the protected attribute. Indirect discrimination takes place when an unreasonable condition or recruitment is enforced upon the complainant that deems as an unfair policy (Mitchell et al., 2015).

In case of the above occurrences, the complainant can lodge a complaint with the help of relevant statutory authority so that attempted resolution and investigation by virtue of conciliation can take place. In case the measure does not bear fruit, the complainant can take the case to a tribunal or court to push legal rights and obligations under the Fair Works Act of 2009. The facilities are available for a range of workers namely probationary workers, apprentices or trainees, casual workers, full time and part-time workers, labor hire workers, contract workers and on work visa workers. The remedial measures include declarations, injunctions, compensatory damages, apologies, variations of contract and retractions.

Discrimination at the workplace reduces the productivity of the employee and is termed as inhuman activities. Every employee has the right to be treated in an human way and the measures ensure that it is imparted to the individuals.

In Australia, an employee cannot terminate an employee without any reason. In order to end the employment, the employer is bound to provide a written notice about the last day of employment or sanctioning of payment (instead of a notice). The notice period is based on length of service with longer ones requiring application under an industrial instrument, contract or policy. The employees can well be made to go on ‘garden leave' during serving a notice period depending on an express or implied term in the employment contract.

The reasons for which an employee can be terminated are unsatisfactory performance, misconduct and reasons related to business, where the employers does not require a work role that is carried out by the employee, subject to going by the lowest entitlement for the redundancy pay that would be based on continuous service or a more generous entitlement under an industrial policy or instrument contract. The termination should be facilitated by means of providing proper reason else he may bring a claim against not being provided with an opportunity to respond, not being made aware of performance concerns and not being given an opportunity to improve. The employee has the right to bring claims regarding unfair dismissal, general protection, reasonable notice, discrimination, breach of contact. The employee can seek reinstatement or compensation according to the FWC policy. When an employee propose to terminate 15 or greater than 15 employees for structural, technological,, economic and similar reasons, it is mandatory to give notice to the trade union and to a federal government agency (Williamson et al., 2019).

The measures will ensure that employees can work in an organisation without worrying about unfair policies moving them out of work. It will also ensure employees are not treated in inhuman ways when it comes to termination of employment.

1.6 Data protection and employee privacy

Byrne(2018) is of the opinion that, Australia lacks a common law right to privacy. The collection, disclosure and use of information pertaining to personal identity are regulated by the Privacy Act of 1988. Under this law, the employer can collect, utilise and reveal employee record and outsource employment concerned functions without taking any consent of the employee since these activities are pertaining to employment relationship. However, records of failed job applicants are does not form part of the mentioned exemption and should be managed according to the clauses of the Privacy Act. The employer can send the employee data to overseas countries and the person concerned there, should use the data according to the jurisdiction of his country.

According to Cahill (2018) pre-employment checks namely substance abuse testing, medical examinations and criminal record checks on would-be employees are allowed only to the extent that they are essential to ensure his ability for the job role. For instance, a pre-employment police record check is permitted only when he will handle children, vulnerable individuals or will need to handle significant assets. New South Wales and Australian Capital territories do not permit workplace surveillance apart from when there is compliance with prescribed notice necessities. The employers have the right to direct employees in order to abstain from using social media in a manner that can compromise business reputation, interest and security.

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1.7 Trending employment as well as industries in Australia

According to Safeworkaustralia.gov.au (2019), in the year 2018, there has been growth in the advertisement of new jobs by 2.8 % in comparison to the previous year. Australia has number of market and industry trends that can determine what types of labour force are required in the current generation. As laid before inSafeworkaustralia.gov.au (2019), the Mining, Energy and the Resources Industry has experienced a growth of 23% as compared to last year. This sector in 2018 has been known to post the highest volume of job ad in the country. Similarly, the Government and Defence has 22% job ad along with Education and Training (22%) that has been posting strong results year by year. The below figure shows how in the year 2018, on the month of October, the top five industries have experienced growth in posting their job ads.

Figure: Top five industries in Australia experiencing growth

It has been laid before byDean (2018), the ad of new jobs grew nationally by 2.8% in comparison to previous year. While the ad growth nationally continued to flatten, the average volumes of job ad has been continuing to be near the highest record with volumes of job ad to be 30% more than that of 2010.

As per Dean (2018), Australians have advertised that salaries have grown by 4% in 2018(October) with Western Australia recorded to have the highest growth of not less than 6.3%. The labour force in the mining industry has experienced a very high growth of salary during this time, and it was at 8.1%, on the other hand Superannuation and Insurance has been only industry which has witnessed a serious decline and has thus recorded 2.2% of declination in comparison to the previous year. Western Australia has the top and the average annual salary amounting to $90,158 whereas Mining and Energy Industry has been recorded the annual salary at $113,267 (Rothman,Briscoe&Nacamulli,2017)

1.8 Rules related to recognition of trade unions

As opined by Rothman,Briscoe&Nacamulli (2017), The Fair Work Act 2009, has provided for the employee and employer registration of the association. Such a registration entails the responsibilities in relation to the rules of the governance standards, organisation as well as financial management. Amendments related to the legislative scheme have been passed in the year 2016, and it also became effective from2017. Through this registration, trade unions can get rights with relation to proceed and stand for the members interest. The FW Act even allows a registered union to take the role of a bargaining representative as well as show the capacity to dictate standards on behalf of the members. However, it has been further argued by Childe (2016), the rules related to the trade unions to maintain the labour market mentions about the rule of not taking part in the pattern bargaining neither can they relate to any demarcation dispute. The FW Act and the Work Health and Safety Act has enabled the union officials to make an entry to the workplace for a specified purpose (Ma, Liu& Mills,2016).

1.9 Employment terms and conditions set down by law that employers have to observe

As said by Wilkins (2015), the Employment and Labour Law Regulations incorporates the common issues in the labour and the employment laws as well as regulations. The labour law and the regulation have the terms and conditions related of employee representation, employment, maternity, discrimination, business sales, family leave that has been well embedded in 51 jurisdictions.

It has been laid further laid before by Wilkins (2015), Industrial instruments, legislation as well as the common law has been the chief sources of the employment law. The Fair Work Act (2009), has been governing the employment of the maximum Australian employees and it is being supplemented by the other state, federal as well as territory legislative schemes that pertains to the different areas related to safety, work and non-discrimination. There are number of appropriate industrial instruments like modern awards that are also being directed by the Fair work Commission along with the enterprise agreements. The awards have been providing a safety employment conditions and a net minimum pay rate which in turn acts as a benchmark for the assessment of whether are having a "better off overall" within the given enterprise agreement. Sappideen, O'Grady& Riley(2016), mentions that the FWC (Fair Work Commission) reviews the annual wages of the labours and even decides on the minimum wage nationally.

Terms that are being employed in the employment contract plays a crucial role. Thus, it includes the duties of the employees related to good faith as well as fidelity, to perform with diligence and skills and obey reasonable orders. If the agreement clause is absent, the terms that are included in the policies can be incorporated within the employment contract if it has been expressed in the promissory language (Sappideen, O'Grady, & Riley, 2016).

Thus, the minimum terms and conditions that have been set by the NES (National Employment Standards) are:
• Request for arrangements for flexible hours
• Annual leave
• Maximum hours for weeks
• Community service related leaves
• Public Holidays
• Long service Leaves
• Fair Work-related Information statement
• Public holidays

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1.10 Maternity and family leaves

According to Rossin-Slater (2017), all the employees within Australia have been entitled to get an unpaid parental leave if their employment has been for 12 months minimum. It has been dictated by the NES that the employees are given the entitlement for 12 months of parental leave that is unpaid right from the birth or may be adoption of a child. Moreover, further request for another 12 months can also be laid forward. The women have an entitlement of a paid parental leave from the government of Australia or may be from their employers which is under the enterprise contract, policies agreement. Under the scheme of the of paid parental leave, all the eligible employees supposedly the primary carer of the new born baby can get a payment of 18 weeks as per the national minimum wage. It has been well argued by Hondralis (2017), that after leave, employees can return to their same job. Moreover, if an employee has been transferred to some safer job prior to the time they have taken parental leave or may be their working hours have been reduced because of pregnancy needs to go back to the same job that has been with them before reduction or transfer. If the job does not exist when the employee has re-joined, he or she should be offered a new and alternative job.

1.11 Literature gap

The above literature review has been able to incorporate number of market and labour trends in Australia along with different important aspects related to employment and employee rights. However, all these reviews have been derived from secondary resources and thus it has been identified with loopholes like unable to provide some realistic views and experiences. This can be well incorporated in the study by the deployment of a primary research analysis. In the methodology section of the study, such form of primary data collection can help in giving a practical view and can even capture experiences within the labour market in Australia.

1.12 Summary and Conclusion

The Australian jurisdiction is taking active steps in order to promote employee satisfaction in work and give them adequate rights to fight against injustice as work place. It has initiated the Modern Slavery Bill in order to do away with modern slavery in work place. It has granted unpaid leaves to employees to deal with domestic issues and paid maternity leaves. In order to ensure data safety do away with workplace discrimination, the Fair Works Commission has provided the Fair Works Act of 2009. The employees are given the right to get reinstated; lodge complains or asks for compensation as parts of the policies that are laid down in order to fight wrongful termination of employees. Minimum wage and proper working hours are also made part of the policies. It is expected that the Australian labor market will see the transformation for the good and the existent problems will be done away with. It is expected that most of the trending areas are covered in details and the reader will get a comprehensive idea about labor trends in Australia. It is not exhaustive and there are other trends as well that are not part of the work

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