AUSTRALIA’S top corporate leaders have been finally granted the power to take a call on how to improve their company’s workplace wellness programs, a major milestone that could boost the industry’s profile as it seeks to grow its share of the global health-care market.
Key points:A landmark decision from the Australian Government could transform how workplace wellness is delivered in AustraliaThe Federal Government’s decision came in response to a submission from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC)The Federal Trade Minister said it was a step forward in ensuring workplace wellness was delivered as well as how it was deliveredIn a landmark decision, the Federal Government will grant its corporate sector the power and responsibility to set workplace wellness standards that must be followed by its corporate workforce.
The change is expected to significantly improve the way corporate workplaces across Australia are delivered with the government now saying it wants to make sure workplace wellness can be delivered as a priority, with a focus on ensuring employees have access to appropriate resources and the right tools to stay well.
“Australian companies are already recognised as leaders in the field of workplace wellness.
Today’s announcement marks a step towards ensuring that Australians continue to get the same level of care they deserve,” Health Minister Nicola Roxon said in a statement.”
This is not only about ensuring Australians stay well, but also ensuring we have the right workforce resources to deliver the best possible workplace wellness for all.”
The Federal Labor Government has previously announced it will seek to increase the amount of workplace health insurance available for employees by 20 per cent from 2018, and the new Federal Government has pledged to increase workplace wellness by $10 million over the next five years.
It will also set up a workplace wellness team that will include representatives from major health insurers, the ACCC, the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Council for Fair Work, and other industry groups.
The decision is a landmark step towards providing Australians with access to the right workplace wellness products and services, including access to workplace wellness specialists and equipment.
The Federal Cabinet is expected in Canberra today to vote on the final amendments to the Workplace Wellness Bill.
The new legislation will be tabled in the Senate and then passed by both houses of Parliament before heading to the president for approval.
Labor is also expected to approve a draft version of the legislation that will contain a range of additional changes.
The legislation, which will become law once passed by the Senate, will come into force on 1 January 2019.
“It is a very significant move,” said Sarah Anderson, executive director of the ACCP’s workplace health and wellbeing division.
“We hope that the Federal Parliament will take a leadership role in this important area of reform.”
Ms Anderson said the legislation was already working in Australia, and that employers needed to start taking the right steps now to make their workplaces more accessible to employees.
“The legislation will go into effect immediately, so companies can implement it immediately and we hope that their workforces will take advantage of it immediately,” she said.
“What this means for employers is that they will have to implement the policy immediately, otherwise they will be liable for any cost that might be incurred.”
Employers are also likely to face more pressure to make changes to workplace wellbeing programs.
“As we look ahead to 2020, there will be a lot of new challenges and there will have been a lot more than usual challenges,” Ms Anderson said.
Ms Anderson also said the new legislation would also help corporate Australia to ensure it met its international commitments.
“I think the Federal government’s recognition of what we are doing in Australia is very important, particularly with regard to the workplace,” she added.
“So it is very significant and a very welcome step forward for the industry.”
Employer involvement is also a priority for the Government.
“For the industry, this is a really important step forward,” Ms Roxon told the ABC’s AM program.
“There is so much more work to be done.”
Topics:business-economics-and-finance,government-and–politics,federal-government,industry,health-policy,government—organisations,workers,community-and-(business)health,workplace,health,healthcare-facilities,australia,tas,act,united-statesFirst posted February 06, 2019 14:50:33Contact Peter McNaughtMore stories from Tasmania