Church employers 'seriously disadvantaged' by Fair Work Act

THE Catholic Church has attacked the Fair Work Act, saying "a reverse onus of proof" in the federal laws disadvantage many small church employers.

A submission from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference to a Senate committee recently revealed the bishops' concerns.

The conference - the leading body in the church in Australia - wrote the experience of most church employers was that they were at a "significant disadvantage" under the Fair Work Act.

"This, in turn, acts as a deterrent to employing or engaging people covered by such legislation," the submission reads.

"A change in the burden of proof with the introduction of any new attributes would generate considerable challenges and costs for organisations across the community."

The church also made its case for a new threshold under the workplace regulations for complaints against an employer, "to avoid discrimination becoming a mechanism for claims pursued because of other grievances".

The Senate committee is due to report back to parliament on new legislation next year.


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