Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Submission: Proper Use of Worker Benefits

Submission – Inquiry into Fair Work Laws Amendment (Proper Use of Worker Benefits) Bill 2019

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) represents over 70,000 workers who create, make and maintain in every city and region across Australia. Many of the workers that we represent are covered by EBAs that include contributions to Worker Entitlement Funds (WEFs).

WEFs play a key role in securing the entitlements of workers. This gives workers’ peace of mind that they will be paid what they are owed in a timely manner in the event of their employer going into administration. These funds are also vital in providing for portability of worker entitlements. As work continues to change and the number of workers in insecure work increases, workers entitlements funds will ensure that workers maintain access to the full suite of industrial rights.

The Bill will do nothing to improve governance of WEFs and will subject them to an unnecessary increase in red tape. The proposed establishment of single-employer funds appears to be a direct attack on the long-term sustainability of the established and successful WEFs with no justification.

The Bill is also bad for taxpayers, as WEFs ensure that employers pay their workers entitlements ahead of time. This means that their employees won’t need to rely on the Fair Entitlement Guarantee (FEG) should their employer go into receivership. Given that the government has expressed several times that it is concerned about the growth in reliance on FEG, it is counterproductive to attack WEFs which will help them to achieve this goal.

The AMWU supports the submissions from the ACTU and NEST to this inquiry.

Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to this inquiry. We would welcome the opportunity to provide further evidence if it would assist with the committee. If you require any additional information, please contact Warren Tegg ([email protected]) in the first instance.

Kind regards,
Paul Bastian

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