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TASMANIAN INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION

WAGE FIXING PRINCIPLES JULY 2009

Matter T13471 of 2009 was an application by the Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council made pursuant to s.23(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1984 to:

"…

(v) review the Wage Fixing Principles of the Commission."

At the hearing the Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council submitted that the Wage Fixing Principles no longer had a relevant purpose and should be retired.

The TCCI and the Minister agreed with this proposal.

The Commission in large measure agreed with the position of the parties. Accordingly the Wage Fixing Principles, as such, were set aside.

The Commission was of the view however that there was merit in retaining, for the foreseeable future, the principles pertaining to Pay Equity and Economic Incapacity. These principles formed part of the decision in Matter T13471 of 2009, rather than a discrete document.

THE PRINCIPLES

Pay Equity

In this Principle 'pay equity' means equal remuneration for men and women doing work of equal value.

Applications may be made for making or varying an award in order to implement pay equity.  Such applications will be dealt with according to this principle.

Pay equity applications will require an assessment of the value of work performed in the industry or occupation the subject of the application, irrespective of the gender of the relevant worker. The requirement is to ascertain the value of the work rather than whether there have been changes in the value of the work.  The Commission may take into account the nature of the work, the skill, responsibility and qualifications required by the work and the conditions under which the work is performed.

A prior assessment by the Commission (or its predecessors) of the value of the work the subject of the application, and/or the prior setting of rates for such work, does not mean that it shall be presumed that the rates of pay applying to the work are unaffected by the gender of the relevant employees.  The history of the establishment of rates in the award the subject of the application will be a consideration.  The Commission shall broadly assess whether the past valuation of the work has been affected by the gender of the workers.

In approaching its task, the Commission will have regard to the public interest requirements of Section 36 of the Act.

Economic Incapacity

Any registered organisation with an interest in an award may apply on behalf of an employer or group of employers to temporarily reduce or postpone or phase in the application of any increase in labour costs under the Principles on the grounds of very serious or extreme economic adversity.  The merit of such application will be determined in the light of the particular circumstances of each case and any material relating thereto shall be rigorously tested.  The impact on employment at the enterprise level of the increase in labour costs is a significant factor to be taken into account in assessing the merit of any application.