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Families can thank Howard Government for lost weekends.

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8 October 2002

Families can thank Howard Government for lost weekends Families can thank the Howard Government for the incursion of ordinary working hours into weekends - once hailed by Peter Reith as an “innovation” in his workplace laws.

A recent ACIRRT report has revealed that 24% of enterprise agreements now allow workers to be required to work on weekends at ordinary rates of pay, putting families under pressure.

This should come as no surprise, since in 1997 Peter Reith boasted of “the scope of flexibility and innovation provided by the [Workplace Relations] Act, including variations to the ordinary hours of work to include work on weekends without the payment of penalty rates” (Speech to National Press Club, 27/8/97).

Before the 1996 election, when confronted with the claim that penalty rates for weekend work would disappear under a Howard Government, Peter Reith insisted,“It is a complete lie. It is a complete, blatant and absolute lie.” (Hansard, 27/9/95)

The thousands of mothers and fathers who can now routinely be asked to work weekends at ordinary pay, instead of caring for their families, would disagree.

While John Howard stands around the barbecue talking about his non-policies on work and family, his workplace laws are putting ever more pressure on workers with family responsibilities.

For further information: Jonathan Kirkwood 0425 231 690

Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow M inister for W orkplace Relations

Robert McClelland MP