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Why is 'Same Job, Same Pay'
bad policy?

Businesses are concerned the rhetoric around this policy is misleading the public about what it really means.

The so-called ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ policy does not mean equal pay for men and women.


While the government talks about ‘labour hire loopholes’ the truth is this policy goes much further than just labour hire, or closing a supposed ‘loophole.’

Instead, the government proposes that it also apply beyond labour hire to service contractors, who provide a service, rather than provide workers.

It could be hugely disruptive because it stops businesses being able to access services they need to function.

This policy is not ‘same job, same pay’ for labour hire, it is same job, same pay for everyone, regardless of the needs of the business or the wishes of its workers.

Businesses can’t provide Australians with more secure jobs and better pay if they are hamstrung by workplace relations laws that go much further than they need to – laws that will prevent them paying workers what they are actually worth.

How does 'Same Job, Same Pay'
stop Australians being rewarded
for their hard work?

The policy means that by law, you cannot earn better pay for working harder or longer, if your colleague does not share your ambition or work ethic.

Under the government’s proposed ‘same job, same pay’ policy:

  • A worker who has devoted a decade of their career to a business and built a reputation for reliability and quality work would by law have to be paid the same as a labour hire worker who has not demonstrated these qualities and is only there temporarily.

  • Many businesses will scale back their incentives and performance bonuses that reward hard work and achievement, opting instead for ‘flat’ pay structures that are easier to apply to their workers and contractors.

  • Businesses will avoid entering into enterprise agreements and other arrangements that pay workers more and instead simply rely on the relevant awards – which already provide ‘same job, same pay’ across industries.

This retrograde policy will deny Australian workers flexibility and the capacity to be treated individually. 

Hard Work

How does 'Same Job Same Pay'
stop businesses from rewarding
knowledge and experience?

The policy means that by law, employers will have to pay workers with little knowledge or experience exactly the same as workers with a lot of knowledge or experience.

None of the proposals the government has put forward differentiates between workers who have no experience and those who have spent years earning their qualifications.

The definition of ‘same job’ is so broad that it could apply equally to a worker with six months experience and also to one with six years experience. How is this fair?


What will this policy do to the economy and businesses?

These changes will make it more difficult for small operators to do business with big companies — rendering many service providers simply unviable – while putting significant constraints on companies wishing to expand, construct new projects and infrastructure, or simply manage their operations in their own way.

Restrictive policies like this are damaging the Australian economy, chasing away investment overseas, and weakening the very businesses and industries that deliver prosperity to the Australian people, at a time when we need more economic growth, more jobs, and more investment.

The Federal Government’s own consultation paper admits that data limitations mean it does not understand the cost impacts of its policy. This makes it even more important for the government to take a targeted, sensible, measured approach

What is the better way
to better pay?

The government must listen to the legitimate concerns of business.

If it is to proceed with its ‘Same Job, Same Pay’ legislation it must be measured and targeted.

It must:

  1. Be targeted to a clearly defined labour market problem, backed by evidence of where the problem lies.

  2. Apply only to ‘labour hire’ rather than other forms of commercial contracting or business structures.

  3. Allow workers to be rewarded for their hard work and paid more if they have different levels of skill and experience.

  4. Be practical and workable, through a sensible definition of what is ‘the same’ job and a workable way to determine ‘the same’ pay.

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