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Posted Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:01pm AEST

Map: Hobart 7000
A move by the Tasmanian government to adopt a range of measures that improve working conditions for cleaners has been welcomed by the union.

The Clean Start principles include a four to eight per cent pay rise over four years, longer minimum shifts and greater job security when cleaning contracts change hands.

The Government will insist all contractors hired to clean government buildings employ the principles from the first of July.

The Workplace Relations Minister Lisa Singh says cleaners often work odd hours for low pay and deserve greater protection.

“This is about wage justice for some of the lowest paid workers,” she said.

“They are our cleaners and we need to show them the respect and the dignity they deserve by remunerating them and giving them the conditions they deserve.”

Posted 8 hours 31 minutes ago

A major welfare group says the Fair Pay Commission is using inaccurate information on the cost of living when setting the minimum wage.

The head of Catholic Social Services, Frank Quinlan, says the Commission uses a formula that underestimates the true cost of housing and over-estimates government rent assistance to low-income earners.

He says the data is up to $90 a week out.

“The Federal minimum wage, far from providing a safety net for low-paid employees, might be significantly underestimating their cost of living and therefore placing people under significant hardship,” he said.

“On a federal minimum wage of something like $540 per week, people who are dependent on this income – often single parents with one or two children – might be $60 or $70 worse off than they should be.”

The Fair Pay Commission says it is aware of the concerns, but will not comment while it is considering whether to increase the minimum wage.

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey
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“The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey: Graduates’ education and employment outcomes five years after completion of a bachelor degree at an Australian university“ reports the findings of the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey. It contains information on the outcomes and pathways of bachelor graduates five years after graduation.

The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was designed to gain information on employment outcomes five years after completing a bachelor degree, how these changed from graduates’ initial outcomes, the pathways taken and the factors that influence outcomes. 9,238 graduates from all Table A higher education providers (with one exception) as well as Bond University and the University of Notre Dame participated in the survey. The 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey was the first national study of its kind in Australia.

The Key findings were that:

Graduates can take a few years to establish their careers: the rate of participation in paid work among graduates rose from 84% to 91% between the first and fifth year following graduation;
At the national level, the median graduate salary rose from $38,000 to $60,000 in the first five years post-graduation – a 58% increase;
Graduate outcomes and pathways varied for different fields of education, with some graduates taking longer to settle into their careers; and
Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved outcomes on par with the general graduate population.

LSAY 55: Varying pay-offs to post school education and training
Posted on 20 January 2009 at 09:16AM


For immediate release Tuesday 20 January 2009

Varying pay-offs to post school education and training

Social background plays only a small role in accounting for differences in occupational status and earnings at age 24, indicating that education is enhancing social mobility, a recent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) study found.

The study, released today, found that, in general, post-school education and training leads to higher status occupations and higher earnings, compared to not doing any further study or training.

However, not all forms of post-secondary education and training are equally beneficial. In terms of earnings, a bachelor degree had the largest impact, increasing earnings by about 31 per cent on average. Apprenticeships increased earnings by about 23 per cent, a TAFE diploma increased earnings by about 14 per cent, and a university diploma by about 17 per cent. Completing a traineeship increased earnings by about 8 per cent and a TAFE certificate by about 5 per cent.

Generally, young women had slightly higher levels of occupational status than did young men, but even during their early career weekly earnings were about 20 per cent less. Possible reasons for this include the higher proportions of young women in part-time work and gender differences in the types of jobs.

ACER chief executive, Professor Geoff Masters, said “Although the overall results are positive for education and training, some TAFE certificates are not delivering sustained increases in earnings. This is in part due to the types of jobs some vocational education is directed towards.”

“However, it may be that young people who had experienced difficulties in the labour market are pursuing TAFE certificate courses or that they are not always choosing appropriate courses.”

The young people were first surveyed in 1995 when they were in Year 9. More than 4200 remained in the study when they were last surveyed in 2005 at about 24 years old. By then, 77 per cent of the cohort was in full-time work. In all years, the incidence of full-time work was substantially higher among young men than among young women.

Further information and additional findings are available in the report, The Occupations and Earnings of Young Australians: The Role of Education and Training by Gary N. Marks. The study is research report number 55 in the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), a program funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) with support from state and territory governments.

Download full report from:

May 03, 2009

PUBLIC hospital nurses will seek their first night shift allowance increase in more than 30 years at a NSW Industrial Relations Commission hearing this week.

The NSW Nurses Association (NSWNA) wants night shift penalty rates increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent and for the penalties to apply on weekends.

This would mean an extra $130 a week for nurses or midwives who do an entire week of night shifts.

Witnesses from the union, NSW Health and nurses from hospitals around the state will give evidence in Sydney from Monday.

Nurses are expected to tell the commission about the difficulties of working night shifts including poor sleep, health problems and disruption of family and social life.

Union president Brett Holmes said night duty penalty rates hadn’t increased for public hospital nurses since 1975.

“The NSWNA does not believe the current rate of 15 per cent fairly and adequately compensates nurses for the social, domestic and health disadvantages experienced when they work night shift,” he said in a statement on Sunday.,25197,25422045-5006784,00.html