Bill's Media Releases

Transfer of business protections for former state public sector workers

Amendments to the Fair Work Act that apply transfer of business rules to protect the entitlements of state public sector employees in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania moving into the national workplace relations system passed the House of Representatives today.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the Fair Work Amendment (Transfer of Business) Bill 2012 will protect conditions and entitlements of former public sector employees where their jobs are lost in a transfer of business, including where a state government outsources work or sells assets and they are rehired by an employer in the national workplace relations system to do the same work.

“These changes enable certain public sector employees who lose their job to retain the benefit of existing terms and conditions of employment and to have their hard-earned entitlements protected where a transfer of business occurs from a state public sector employer to an employer in the Fair Work system,” Mr Shorten said.

“The Gillard Government wants state public sector workers to feel a sense of security knowing they will not be worse off if, for example, their job is outsourced and they transfer to a national workplace relations system employer to do the same work.”

The Bill further strengthens and extends the benefits of the existing transfer of business provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009, which previously only applied when both old and new employers were covered by the Fair Work system.

“The 632,000 employees working in the Commonwealth, Victorian, Northern Territory and ACT public sectors already have the benefit of the transfer of business protections in the Fair Work Act.  The Australian Government is determined to ensure that the over 1 million public sector employees in those other states generally receive similar protection when they transition into the national workplace relations system,” Mr Shorten said.

Consistent with their anti worker voting record, the Coalition voted against the Bill.

“Working in a time of job uncertainty is hard enough—we don’t need our 1.7 million hard working public sector workers worrying that they will lose their entitlements if their job is outsourced,” Mr Shorten said.

“This is a good day for Australia’s public sector workers, but it’s certainly no thanks to Tony Abbott’s anti-worker Coalition.”

The Bill will now be considered by the Senate.

Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Sam Casey—0421 697 660