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Workplace Relations

Q1) Governments all around the world are undertaking crisis financial measures to sustain their reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. In many countries like Australia, public sector employees were considered as privileged groups as they have employment protection. Also, the average pay 20 percent more than their peers in the private segment (Grimshaw et al. 2017). Consequently, it is enticing for the policymakers and the public to believe that they require making a sacrifice for the country's welfare. However, the public sector employees strongly criticize the idea of public sector pay freeze. It has been identified that the NSW government freezes staff salaries to save 3 billion dollars amid Coronavirus. According to current wage policy, thousands of public sectors can pursue a 2.5 percent raise each year (NSW Government 2020). The evidence specified that the public sector is a huge employer and protecting occupation is a major concern right now. Any cuts in employment, as well as wages, may have a possible impact on the livelihood. Another important thing is that the public sector employees are providing a large amount of necessary crisis reaction services during the covid19 pandemic. It is the responsibility of NSW to ensure that public sector employees continue to work overtime and deliver the necessary services. Furthermore, various economists supported the fact that a pay freeze can help in the recovery of the Australian economy. A pause in public sector annual wage growth could provide up to 3 billion dollars to invest in job creation for those who are suffering, without affecting the economy with more taxes and increasing the debt legacy for future generations. The government has ensured that the pay freeze would allow it to commit to no forced redundancies across the front line services.

Furthermore, a pay freeze for even a short period of time decreases the lifetime income and superannuation savings of the public sector by ten thousand dollars as it permanently reduces their lifetime wage trajectory. In addition, various people argued that the pay freezes are being imposed at every moment when public sector employees like healthcare workers, teachers, and social workers are performing necessary tasks at personal risks. However, the pay freeze is mainly considered as a shared sacrifice rather than fiscal or economic support. Also, evidence specified those pay freezes are unfair and counterproductive. Furthermore, the short term method like rationalize and wage cuts have shaped long term twist in public sector service and wages. The COVID-19 catastrophe has revealed the significance of effectual public organization to protect lives and likelihoods (Noble et al. 2020). It has also considerably and disastrously exposed vulnerabilities in state potential in high and low-income nations. The overall arguments highlighted some benefits and drawbacks of ay freeze. However, the government must focus on introducing the policies which support the economy without harming the interests of public sector employees.

Q2) When a company faces a financial crisis then it decided to deploy cost-cutting measures. The pay freeze is usually recognized as salary freeze or pay to flatten refers to a company's strategy of maintaining present pay level for some or all groups of workers for a period of time (Kaine 2020). The freeze may look superior on financials though if not correctly supervised it may influence employee inspiration and commitment. Differences may put tension on the relationship which is detrimental to the growth of a country as well as business. In addition, the state and Federal Public Service employees across the country have been deal with pay freezes and job cuts as the government attempt to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19. Wage cut or pay freeze is an unethical activity as it affects the overall livelihood of employees. Furthermore, the pay freeze not only affects the economic growth but also hamper the overall welfare. It will also affect the employee and the employer's relationship. In addition nurses and midwives alone have put everybody else health and safety but the pay freeze will act as an unsupportive and unethical measure in the country. During this phase, it is the responsibility of the government to support frontline workers so that they can protect the country from this pandemic. It has been identified that salary and wages play an imperative role in motivating the employees and enhancing their productivity. However, under the wage freeze policy salaries will remain unchanged for twelve months. 

Q3) Deontology is a moral theory that the principles of action must be based on whether that action itself is correct or incorrect under a series of regulations. In the case pay freeze the deontological is application as the government has introduced the concept of pay freeze to support the economy but it is affecting the overall interest of public sector employees (Reynolds et al. 2019). Furthermore, the theory put a major emphasis on the value of human being. In addition, the deontological theory revealed that it is necessary to do the right thing and avoid situations that are not good. During the COVID 19 pandemic, it is the responsibility of the government to support frontline workers like Nurses, teachers, doctors, and many more but the pay freeze decisions of the government cannot support their morale as it is unethical. Also, the employees are not happy with the pay freeze as it will affect the overall growth. The evidence also specified that the NSW government believes that these actions will support the economy and save the people who faced a huge loss. However, there is no concrete evidence that supports the fact that pay freeze supports an economy during a pandemic or economic crisis. According to deontology theory, it is the responsibility of an individual to follow the right path. However, the supporters of these theories also believe that it is unethical to cut or hold the wages of public sector employees (Collie et al. 2020). Also, this act is unethical as it affects the belief of public sector employees on the NSW government.

Reference for Australian Industrial Relations and Covid-19

Collie, A., Sheehan, L., van Vreden, C., Grant, G., Whiteford, P., Petrie, D. and Sim, M.R., 2020. Psychological Distress Among People Losing Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Australia. medRxiv.

Grimshaw, D., Johnson, M., Marino, S. and Rubery, J., 2017. Towards more disorganised decentralisation? Collective bargaining in the public sector under pay restraint. Industrial Relations Journal48(1), pp.22-41.

Kaine, S., 2020. Australian industrial relations and COVID-19. Journal of Australian Political Economy, The, (85), p.130.

Noble, K., Hurley, P. and Macklin, S., 2020. COVID-19, employment stress and student vulnerability in Australia.

NSW Government., 2020. ‘NSW Government pauses pay rises to protect and create jobs’, Media Release, 27 May, Available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/nsw-government-pauses-pay-rises-to-protect-and-create-jobs

Reynolds, C.J., Knighten, K.R. and Conway, P., 2019. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is deontological? Completing moral dilemmas in front of mirrors increases deontological but not utilitarian response tendencies. Cognition192, p.103993.

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