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Productivity Commission recommends unfair changes to unfair dismissal laws

Aug 7, 2015News

The first copy of the Productivity Report released this work was filled with controversial recommendations, including a recommendation to cut penalty rates and change the unfair dismissal laws. 

The report, which was commissioned by the Federal Government, includes a recommendation that reinstatement would no longer be the primary objective when the Fair Work Commission is considering remedies for unfairly dismissed workers.

The report also notes that the Fair Work Commission arbitrated 826 unfair dismissal cases in 2013-14, but of those only 34 workers were reinstated. Of those, 25 included orders for lost remuneration.

Despite using last year’s statistic as evidence as reason for change (it says that the current emphasis on reinstatement is “a mere formality, and is honoured more in the breach than the observance”), the statistics also shows how rare it is that employees’ are reinstated through the unfair dismissal process as is.

The process is already clearly swinging in the favour of employers, but this Productivity Report recommendation, if adopted, would swing the pendulum even further in the employer’s favour.

The report released this week was the initial draft and a consultation phase to discuss the recommendations will now begin.