The Australian State should stop interfering in the employment relationship
There are various laws and regulations laid down by states government to govern the employment relations. The employment relationship is a relationship between employers and employees in any given organization. In basic terms, employment relationship is an agreement between employers and employees to exchange labour force where employees offer their skills and knowledge to the success of the company which benefits the employer. Most governments control these employer-employees contractual agreements by infringing some rules and requirements that guide both parties on how they should relate. (Lebergott, 1964).
The states controls work issues in different ways and in various areas which includes among others, regulation of the rights to advocate for negotiations of collective bargaining power, the employees rights to liberty when they are within contractual agreements, the control and regulations of wages and working hours. This also include the right to safe work environment, the protection of any form of discrimination, protection against unlawful employees terminations and dismissals , the right to equal employment opportunities and the provision of employees benefits.
Even though most body of states governing the employments relationship argue that the legal regulations serves to protect both the employers and the employees rights and that they demonstrate the importance of good working relationship based on mutual trust and equal negotiating powers. Great oppositions continue to arise from union leaders who feel these regulations are unjustified and serve to oppress both the employer and the employees working relationship. Most people who have entered into contractual agreements in work places supports the unions stand arguing that the legal infringements are unnecessary and serves to interfere with the with the correct contractual agreements in the employment relationships.
The debate relating to whether or not the legal requirements laid down by the states governments interfere with the work performance and the interactions between the two employment relationship parties have continued to elicit strong reactions among people in different countries. For instance, in Australia, there has been major oppositions from workers unions, potential employers and corporations to eliminate the conditions laid down by the federal governments through Australia Workplace Agreement (AWA). They claim that the parties in an employment relationship are protected by getting flexibilities to negotiate pay rise, to get controlled working hours and wages as well as providing proper working arrangements that help to create a work environment that meet the needs of both parties. The unions argue that the conditions in the AWA governing body strips off workers rights in number of ways while the private employers and corporations argues that the rules and regulations imposed to them are unjustified and causes more harm to the success of their companies.
The Australia workplace agreement has provided directions and guidance to be followed by the employers and the employees in different areas that conflict with the interest of both the employer and the employees. For instance the states enacted laws that regulated the working hours an employee was supposed to take in a given period of time in certain job nature. This law infringes unnecessary interference to both bodies since the employees are denied rights to exhaust the maximum hours his/her strength or efficiency could allow. People have diversified knowledge, skills and power and the ways through which each individual can work differs with others as far as the working hours is concerned. The state laws regulating the employees working hours denies energetic workers the opportunity to work for extra hours which can earn them a chance to earn more wages.
In addition, the state governing body provides that the employees be paid on an hourly basis and this can create unequal work input when the employees are working together. This is because some hardworking employees may offer more input than others and their efforts may not be recognized as the employers are bound to by the law to pay based on standard working hours other than the work input.
On the other hand this law affects the employers and corporations in that they deny them the right to have freedom when creating employees contracts. The employers are denied right to create more working hours which can help to significantly boost the business profitability. Again, the employers are also denied a right to negotiate a contractual working period that would help meet their objectives. The employers argue that the state do not understand the operations of business as they do and thus they should be given the right to successfully manage and control employees working time limit that could march the work demand in a given business entity.
The safety and healthy acts regulations is another area where the state laws conflict with the parties of an employment relationship. The law requires that the employer provide safe work environments with improved health conditions. In Australia, the law requires that the employer provides a work environment free of hazardous material that could injure their workers and contribute money to workers compensation insurance funds to compensate a worker and pay hospital bill in the event of an employee getting an injury while working in the company or due to work related issues. Finally, it requires that the affected employees be fully compensated and be retrained if the injury affected his ability to work in his former position.
This law interfere with the operation of a business since it impose financial burdens on the part of an employers who has to pay extra costs that affect the success of business growth. This is because most employers are pushed to take up employees occupation safety and health insurance policy with charges high premium payments rates. Again this is an unfair and unjustified law that burdens the employer who has to incur costs to cover injuries that may even occur due to employee negligence. The governing body should leave the issues of safety and health matters to be dealt with by union workers and the employers. Alternatively they should come up with a rule that balances the interest of both the employer and the employees where they can both share the costs of an insurance cover.
Protection against employee discrimination is a major law that is included in the Australia workplace agreement. This law offers employees with rights to sue their employees for alleged discrimination in the workplace. The law forbids workers discrimination against gender, race, ethnicity, religion or social or cultural background. This law has affected the employment relationship in a number of ways. One major way is in the way it has negatively caused employers to reluctantly fail to give employment opportunities to people with conflicting racial group or religion regardless of their qualification in an effort to avoid breaking the rule of discrimination. This law creates more discrimination issues since it makes workers to build up steam of workers from the same backgrounds restricting employment of qualified personnel who can bring diversified culture and ideas that can lead to success in the company.
In addition, the law interferes with the employment relationship as it provides avenues for employees to punish their employers as a retaliatory in the event of an employer- employees disputes caused by poor performance, problems with punctuality or absenteeism. An employee may falsely accuse his/her employer claiming an expression of discrimination after a disagreement which can lead to a court process that can drain the successfulness of the business entity. Other than imposing pressure to follow the issues laid down under the discriminatory law the state should eliminate the enacted law and allow the parties to internally deal with such matters.
The rules and regulations in the Australia workplace agreement also regulate the ways in which the employees pensions and benefits plans are provided. Besides the enactment of the law that ensure that the employees benefits are provided in a timely manner, the law has enforced laws that create conflicts between the employers and the employees. For instance, the governing body has established that an employer offer some paid leaves to the employees who get financial inducements for work that they have not done. The employer may view the paid leave as unjustified while the employee for forcefully demand for the leave with a claim that it is his/her right and this may cause problems between them and the specified staff members (Bell,1940).
Another area where the governing laws and regulation has affected the work relationship in Australia is when employing new employees who are required to provide personal information to be kept in the company record. Under the privacy and reputation acts in the Australian workplace agreement, an employee can only disclose limited information relating to their personal life. This can greatly affect the employee- employer relationship since the employer does not get to know their employees in depth as it should be.
In cases where the employee disclose sensitive information such as internal medical problems and the employer sincerely dismiss him due to the prevailing condition that may prevent him from working efficiently, the employee may sue the employer under employment reputation acts and this can deeply hurt their existing relationship. This present an unfair treatment on the part of the employees who may be forced to work with a person whose performances dissatisfy him/her.
With this in mind, it is clear that the Australia legal requirement controlling the employment relationship interferes with the interactions and agreement between the two employment parties and therefore they should be left to operate at free will without any legal infringements.
Bell, S. (1940). Productivity, Wages and National Income, The Institute of Economics of the Brookings Institution
Howard, Donald S. (1943). WPA and Federal Relief Policy. p. 34.
Lebergott, S. (1964). Manpower in Economic Growth: The American Record since 1800. New York: McGraw-Hill
Norman Selwyn, Selwyns Law of Employment (2008) Oxford University Press
Keshawn Walker and Arn Morell, Labor and Employment: Workplace Warzone, Georgetown University Thesis (2005)
Simon Honeyball, Honeyball and Bowers Textbook on Employment Law (2008) Oxford University Press
Simon Deakin and Gillian Morris, Labour Law (2005) Hart Publishing ISBN 9781841135601
Stephen F. Befort and John W. Budd, Invisible Hands, Invisible Objectives: Bringing Workplace Law and Public Policy Into Focus (2009) Stanford University Press