Employment and Workplace Relations

Working people need more security, higher pay and fulfilling work that is supported by a fair and equitable industrial relations system and the right collectively to organise and strike.


The Australian Greens believe that:

1. All people have the right to a livelihood, to pursue their preferred work, and to have freedom, dignity, economic security and equal opportunity in their workplace.

2. Australia must have a fair and equitable industrial relations system that upholds the rights of all working people.

3. Job insecurity, unemployment and underemployment entrenches inequalities in our society. Discrimination makes these inequalities worse.

4. The growing gap between the lowest and highest paid, both in individual organisations and businesses and in society as a whole, is detrimental to the long-term wellbeing of the workforce and the economy.

5. Government has a responsibility to ensure everyone can exercise their right to meaningful work.

6. Australia’s workforce must possess a range of skills, be highly trained and well-paid, with working conditions underpinned by a strong, comprehensive safety net.

7. Working people have the right to just and favourable conditions of work including equal pay for work of equal value.

8. The value of domestic, care and volunteer work in households and communities must be recognised and included in the calculation of national economic and well-being measures.

9. It is necessary for our society to examine ways of sharing paid work on a more equitable basis and explore new opportunities for work and community ventures.

10. Working migrants have the same rights as all other workers in Australia.

11. Working people and their representatives are entitled to democratic participation in deciding the direction of the organisation for which they work and should be able to do so without intimidation from employers.

12. Everyone has the right to be a member of a union, collectively to organise, bargain, strike and take other industrial action necessary to ensure a safe and fair workplace and a sustainable and democratic future.

13. The democratic participation of union members in determining the direction and function of their unions is an essential pillar of a civil society. 

14. Unions should be strong, vibrant and unencumbered by unreasonable regulation and outside interference in their right to organise working people.

15. Everyone has the right to work in a safe workplace free of occupational hazards, including bullying, discrimination and harassment.

16. Industrial manslaughter is a crime.

17. Meeting ecological and social objectives for safe and healthy workplaces is significantly more important than corporate profitability.

18. The key purpose of an industrial relations system must be to protect the interests of working people from the disproportionate power of employers, chief contractors and monopolies.

19. Workplace laws should provide better work-life balance, giving people more control over their working arrangements, protection against working excessive hours, and enforceable rights to flexible working practices.

20. Effective processes of dispute resolution, including conciliation and arbitration before an independent tribunal, are a necessary element in any fair and effective industrial relations system.

21. The industrial relations framework and government policies should promote full employment and job security.

22. Workplace safety should have an overriding importance over all other aspects of work and workers’ compensation schemes should prioritise rehabilitation at no charge to the injured worker and full compensation.

23. Everyone should have access to ongoing learning and training opportunities.

24. Slavery is abhorrent and must be illegal in all its forms.

25. Workers and their representatives should have a role in determining increased uses of new technologies in their workplace.

26. Surveillance of workers must be with their free and informed consent and only be for legitimate reasons that protect the interest of workers, or for legitimate business reasons that are not disproportionate or punitive to workers.

27. Contract workers in the so-called "gig" economy must have the entitlements and conditions afforded to employees, including the right to be represented by a trade union.

28. Sex work should be recognised and valued as no less than other forms of work.


The Australian Greens want:

A fairer share of work

1. A legislated minimum wage of no less than 60% of the median Australian full-time wage.

2. A transition toward a four-day or equivalent standard working week, with no reduction in overall pay.

3. All hours worked in excess of ordinary hours be awarded penalty rates and accrued entitlements in accordance with the hours worked.

4. Increased penalty rates and, as applicable, overtime for workers working unsociable hours or on weekends.

5. A legislated minimum of five weeks annual leave for all employees.

6. The addition of no fewer than four additional national public holidays, with the aim of ensuring at least one public holiday per calendar month.

7. Greater control for employees over their workplace arrangements to allow for a better balance between work and family, social and community involvement. Workplace practices must be family and carer friendly.

8. Incentives for workplace childcare facilities, and mandatory implementation of family-friendly workplace policies for all large employers.

9. An enhanced national paid parental leave scheme with a minimum shared total leave entitlement period.

10. Improved minimum wages and employment standards for trainees and apprentices.

11. The implementation of caps on salary and entitlements for CEOs and executives, with salary savings to be directly passed onto lowest paid employees in that organisation.

Workers, their unions and the right to organise and strike

12. Full protection of the rights of workers to join a union and of unions to protect and enhance the rights of their members.

13. New and existing employees to be informed that they are entitled to join a union, and enable the provision of information about the unions responsible for the sector and industry, including through in-person paid time union inductions where practical.

14. Recognition of the rights of workers to take industrial action, including the right to strike, and to advance their economic, social, and environmental interests.

15. Workers and their unions to determine for themselves how industrial action is to be approved.

16. Abolition of impediments to the right to strike, allowing for multi-enterprise industrial action, the provision of guaranteed social security to striking workers, and the end of fining unions for exercising the right to strike.

17. Workers and their unions to be protected against sanctions under non-industrial laws - including competition or anti-cartel laws - or common law actions when undertaking industrial activity.

18. Workers to have the right to occupy their workplace during industrial disputes.

19. Legislation to require medium and large corporations to have democratically elected workers or their representatives on their companies' board of management.

Our industrial relations system

20. An industrial relations system that protects and enhances the rights of employees and workers by: 

  1. maintaining a legislated minimum standard for pay, penalty rates, annual leave and hours of work that protects all employees and workers;
  2. promoting meaningful work and secure employment;
  3. providing comprehensive industry-wide awards that give rights and entitlements in excess of the legislative minima and which are determined by conciliation and arbitration before an effective and independent industrial tribunal;
  4. facilitating collective agreements, including industry-wide agreements, that are union negotiated and exceed the Award standards;
  5. ensuring individual arrangements cannot be sub-standard compared with awards or collective agreements; and
  6. conforming with international law, especially International Labour Organisation conventions on freedom of association, the right to organise and collective bargaining.

21. Unhindered right of entry provisions, subject to immediate and verified safety concerns, for unions to recruit members, inspect for and remedy breaches of workplace health and safety provisions, breaches of the Fair Work Act and relevant awards or agreements, consult with workers and their representatives, and undertake other activities relating to strengthening workers’ organisations.

22. Full protection of accrued entitlements of employees.

23. Improvements to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee to cover all unpaid wages and entitlements for workers when their employers go into liquidation or bankruptcy.

24. Expansion of the national employment standards to include paid leave for foster caring, surrogacy, kinship care and escaping domestic violence.

25. Reform of industrial laws and the portability of entitlements (such as long service leave) to reflect the growth in insecure employment and the fact that people are more likely to work for multiple employers during their working lives.

26. Training and skills development available to all workers, including apprentices, trainees, part-time and casual employees, without loss of pay.

27. Representatives of unions to have an enforceable power to compel companies to release all relevant records in response to allegations of wage theft and, in the event of a successful prosecution, the relevant union be entitled to an incentive payment in addition to the funds recovered by the claimants.

28. Publication by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of meaningful monthly measures of underemployment and unemployment, with broader definitions of unemployment.

29. To abolish and oppose any building and construction industry laws or codes that undermine working people's collective and human rights, and the complete removal of any coercive powers over workers. One set of laws should apply equally to all workers.

30. Strong and nationally consistent industrial manslaughter and workplace health and safety laws. 

31. Enhanced frameworks and resources for the prevention and rectification of wage theft.

32. To restrict surveillance technology in the workplace without workers' prior informed and active consent, including a ban on disproportionate or punitive surveillance technology, facial recognition and eye or body movement monitors.

33. To prohibit employers selling employee data to third parties or commercialising any data acquired through the surveillance of employees.

34. Employers to guarantee employees' rights to privacy and freedom of speech in any bargaining process.

Discrimination in the workplace

35. Equal pay for work of equal value and equal access to paid work based on merit and without discrimination on any basis.

36. The elimination of the gender pay gap and other biases in hiring, promotion and performance assessment.

37. Disabled people to have equity in pay and workplace conditions, including access to meaningful work with reasonable and necessary adjustments reflecting their support needs, and universally accessible workplaces.

38. Employers to hire disabled people with reasonable and necessary adjustments in line with their support needs.

39. The removal of religious exemptions from employment laws, which allow religious institutions to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ people in employment.

40. The full decriminalisation of sex work, and legislated anti-discrimination provisions to limit discrimination against sex workers.

41. Enacted and enforced industrial and immigration laws that stop the exploitation of working migrants, including temporary visa-holders, by ensuring they receive the same pay, entitlements and conditions of employment as a local worker doing the same job.

42. Protection against deportation for temporary visa holders who exercise their rights under employment law, including the reporting of violations of employment law in their workplaces.

43. Expansion of Australia's anti-slavery framework to include labour law reforms.

Casual workers, contractors and labour hire

44. Increasing casual loadings to seek to reverse the trend towards casual labour, and the enforceable ability for casual employees, temporary contractors and labour hire contractors to convert to permanency after 6 months with appropriate exemptions for seasonal workers.

45. "Gig" workers to be recognised as employees or a new category of autonomous worker and be extended rights, protections and entitlements that are not less than those granted to employees.

46. Greater protection for casual, fixed-term and probationary workers and employees of small businesses, including full rights to challenge termination of employment where it is unfair. Except in exceptional circumstances, reinstatement to the original or comparable position by the employer to be the preferred remedy where desired by an employee who has been unfairly dismissed.

47. A right for independent contractors to participate in collective bargaining.

48. To repeal any independent contractors legislation that strips employment rights from individuals.

49. Restriction of independent contractor arrangements to individuals who are genuinely running their own business.

50. Elimination of sham contracts, with increased funding for the Fair Work Ombudsman in order to conduct investigations, and increased penalties for individuals and corporations that are found to be engaging in this practice.

51. Expanded penalties for labour hire companies that engage in and facilitate repeated or systemic violations of the law.

Creating better jobs 

52. To reverse the privatisation of public employment services and establish a publicly owned employment service, with all services tailored to individual needs and free from compliance such as "mutual obligation".

53. All government programs, investments, resource allocation and procurement to include a jobs impact assessment to ensure that the community is getting the maximum number of jobs from public investments.

54. Recognition of interns as workers, and fair workplace pay and conditions for student intern work undertaken in the course of an internship or work placement as part of their studies or professional accreditation.

55. Incentives for businesses to create ongoing employment positions rather than relying upon precarious forms of employment.

(Employment and Workplace Relations Policy as amended by National Conference May 2021.)