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Clubs and schools to pay under new workplace law

Clubs and schools to pay under new workplace law

Schools, sports clubs and community groups could be slapped with heavy fines if the new Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill is allowed to become law.

“This legislation paves the way for massive law suits and $250,000 fines for the groups in our community that survive on the goodwill of volunteers,” says National Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

Mr Sowry says hefty fines could be imposed on any group where volunteers are accidentally hurt.

“Under the Bill if a school, club, or voluntary group has just one paid employee, then all the volunteers doing work for them are treated as employees too.

“The best example of this craziness is the sports club that employs a full time coach for its premier grade side.

“If someone volunteering on a stall to raise funds for youth grade teams is hurt, and the full risks of them participating were not spelled out to them, then the club is liable.

“And if OSH don’t prosecute, then the volunteer or their family can,“ says Mr Sowry.

“Clubs and community based organisations will have to deal with more paperwork and face higher costs.

“The fundraising base of many clubs and schools is under threat from this legislation.

“They’ll now have to weigh up the benefit of fundraising versus the risk of legal action -and in some cases, it may not be worth the risk,” says Mr Sowry.

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