Fair Minimum Standards
A series of fair minimum standards is essential to enable workers to be justly rewarded for their work, to ensure fairness across the labour market (especially for vulnerable workers) and to enable employees to live a fulfilling life and attain a fair balance between work and the rest of their lives. This chapter addresses these standards. Bearing in mind the experience of the past two decades, it is useful to conceptualise appropriate minimum standards as falling into the following three categories: 剩rreducible minimum standards - substantive standards below which workers cannot fall 剣ompensable minimum standards - substantive standards below which workers generally cannot fall but where deviations can be allowed in certain circumstances, which must include that workers are generously compensated for such deviations 剦acilitative minimum standards - standards that set out procedural rather than substantive rights that are designed to enable workers to attain a fair balance between work and the rest of their lives. Australia's work and care regime is shaped in significant ways by the irreducible minimum standards, compensable minimum standards and facilitative rights it puts in place. These have not kept pace with the workforce of the new century. They are certainly inadequate to this current workforce - one that is facing a diminishing labour supply arising from domestic demographic changes and restricted prospects of labour supply through skilled immigration. Patterns of minimum standards need not and should not be frozen in time: they must both lead and respond to change. As living standards rise, workers' social circumstances evolve, the gender composition and care responsibilities of the workforce change and the pressures on workers shift, minimum standards must adapt. Fairly constructed industrial tribunals, with high levels of legitimacy in the community, have the ongoing ability to establish new national standards in the future, where circumstances warrant, that reflect the needs and capacity of society as it evolves, ensuring that industrial standards facilitate change with equity.
Australian Charter of Employment Rights