Property management employees could be paid more for working weekends and after hours if a federal government plan gets the green light, yet not everyone believes this is in the industry's best interests.
The Fair Work Amendment bill 2013, which is currently the focus of an inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment, proposes the need to provide additional remuneration for employees working overtime; unsocial, irregular or unpredictable hours; working on weekends or public holidays; or working shifts.
In a story published on Real Estate Business earlier this week, Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) president Peter Bushby said the new legislation would have an adverse effect on clients, consumers and the industry.
“Potentially, this legislation has the greatest impact on the viability of real estate businesses and the services they provide," he said.
His views were echoed by a vast majority of people who commented on REBonline.
Yet a number of industry professionals said too much of the focus was on sales agents, who were already well paid for their efforts.
“Let’s try talking about the property managers for a change,” said a Mrs Hardie. “The wages for these positions are a disgrace, with property managers requiring more and more expertise in law and dealing with more aggressive and demanding people.
“They deserve to be paid what they are worth, which does not happen currently. All property manager/officer awards should be raised by no less than five per cent across the board. Sales agents at least get rewarded for working hard in the form of commission.”
Tom added the variability of his working hours should mean he’s paid for hours worked overtime.
“As a property manager I know when my working hours start but never know when I will finish,” he commented.
“If you don't want to pay property managers overtime, penalty, weekends, extra shift times, then I think it will be appropriate to ask no pay increase or same penalty rates for government employee, politicians, doctors, night shift workers, defense force, or any other industry as a matter of fact. Whoever says no pay for doing a great job must be someone that wants to work for free.”
Yet Graeme said many principals would find it commercially challenging to pay their staff more for working odd hours.
“Consumers rely on people in real estate sales and property management to be available at times that suit them,” he said.
“Under this scheme it would be commercially unviable to provide the level of service required by tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers that they require. This is a service industry and just because the people devising this scheme put their hand out for overtime (our tax money) if they work past 5pm, it does not mean it works in the real world.
“Imagine if every time a tenant had a leaky tap, locked themselves out or a buyer wanted to talk to a salesperson and view a property on the weekend, that the agency principal, landlord or seller was charged overtime! I don't think so!”