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Workers win the right to more time off for pa -

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(generated from captions) In what could be the last test case Commission, by the Industrial Relations time off to bring up their children. parents have won the right to more

about the decision, Employers are nervous extra leave but they will be able to refuse will suffer. if they can prove their business in the United Kingdom The changes are similar to new laws Government has told Lateline and a former advisor to the Blair success for businesses there. the changes have been a surprise conditions will be of little use But unions warn the family-friendly in Australia

doesn't adopt them if the Federal Government overhaul. as part of its industrial relations Rachel Carbonell reports. with two young girls. Julie Clayton is a lawyer more flexible working conditions She says to new parents. will make a world of difference

Well, I think it's fantastic. that you are given I mean, the more flexibility when you first become a parent, the better, as far as I'm concerned. everybody, Obviously it's not going to suit not everybody will want that long that long, but for the people who do want I think it's a real plus. Industrial Relations Commission Today's ruling in the Australian be able to request means parents will now a range of new leave provisions, unpaid leave including an extra 12 months until their child goes to school. and part-time work parental leave requests Employers will be able to refuse if it costs their business too much or there aren't enough staff. What's important is unreasonable expectation. that this decision does not create in theory, Decisions like these sound good difficult to implement. but in practice they always can be the commission has applied today, Even with the cautious approach management issues it will present some for small and medium businesses. businesses were also uneasy In the UK,

there two years ago. when similar changes were introduced

Government, Jenny Earle, But former adviser to the Tony Blair for employers as well as workers. says the laws have been successful The experience in the UK is showing

the prescribed steps that if the employer goes through in considering the application, that it is workable, then they are very likely to find that it is acceptable and most requests are being granted. to be led to such changes. But she says employers do need and on promoting best practice Relying on voluntary arrangements is just not going to reach with caring responsibilities the majority of workers in our lifetimes. of governments to regulate, And it really is the responsibility to accelerate the pace of change. That's what being done overseas, it can't happen here. I don't see why a toothless tiger. The decision could yet be an escape clause, Not only have businesses been given but unions and the Labor Party fear doesn't adopt it if the Federal Government its industrial relations reforms, as part of could mean very little. the new family-friendly measures the Commonwealth They're now calling on as minimum standards. to guarantee the changes The challenge we have now will respect this. is to see whether the government Howard and Kevin Andrews' court. It's fairly and squarely in John into their minimum conditions? Will they put these new standards isn't revealing The Federal Government the IRC decision what weight it will give when it implements it's IR changes. consider The government will obviously

Relations Commission the decision of the Industrial the detail of the legislation in terms of considering and that detail will be provided the Parliament in October. in the bill which comes into of the decision, And it played down the significance brought kicking and screaming denying that employers need to be to such changes. was to say, What the IRC was really doing at the end of the day, a matter of negotiation things like that are between employers and employees. of our policy approach That is a reinforcement and what I would say is it is far more likely that under our policy, those sorts of benefits. that employees will get Government have also taken heart Employer groups and the Federal from the IRC's decision to reject a range of other leave claims made by the unions. Rachel Carbonell, Lateline.