4th August, 2014

Worker disputes down in Australia

Disputes with employees are an unfortunate occurrence in any industry. These challenges can easily undo years of good work building rapport with workers, while straining the financial viability of our business.

What's more, there are only so many ways that these events can be protected against, especially for busy tradies facing tough deadlines. Comprehensive workers compensation insurance can be a good start for employment disputes related to injuries. However, more complicated cases become harder to predict and protect against.

Fortunately, the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have found that disputes with employers have reached new lows across the country.

In the most recent quarterly report on the state of industrial disputes, drawn from the March quarter of this year, 36 cases of industrial disputes were undertaken within the country. Across the entire year ending in March, the number stood a bit higher, with 200 commenced in the last 12 months.

These disputes affected a total of 5,600 employees in the first three months of this year, and resulted in the loss of 9,700 working days for Australian employers.

While these figures may seem  gloomy without any context, they represent a considerable decrease over the last few years. The March quarter actually recorded the lowest levels working days lost since March 2009.

This is also the first time since 2008 that the number of days off work has dipped below 10,000 within a three month period.

These numbers also represent a big decrease compared to recent years. In the September quarter of 2012, the number of lost working days hit 110,000, more than ten times the number recorded across the start of this year.

If these low numbers can continue, employers will experience greater cohesion with their staff and lower expenses from areas related to workplace disputes.

Author: Murray Bruce