2.117 There are a number of bodies within the employment law framework tasked with regulation and monitoring of obligations and requirements under legislation such as anti-discrimination and industrial relations legislation. A number of stakeholders have suggested that the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) model might provide a useful one upon which to establish a similar body or process of recognition of employer best practice with respect to mature age workers.
Is there an appropriate model?
2.118 EOWA is a statutory authority with a role in administering the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth) (EOWA Act) and focuses on assisting organisations to achieve equal opportunity for women, including through education. EOWA has an ‘Employer of Choice for Women’ citation which acknowledges organisations that are recognising and advancing women in their workplace.
2.119 In 2012, the Australian Government introduced amendments to the EOWA Act. Under the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 (Cth), employers with over 100 employees must report annually against ‘gender equality indicators’ which relate to the gender composition of employees and governing bodies, remuneration, flexible working arrangements and consultation on gender equality issues.
2.120 The broader Canadian model may also provide a useful model. The aim of the Employment Equity Act 1995 SC c 44 (Canada) is to ensure that federally regulated employers provide equal opportunities for employment to four designated groups: women; Aboriginal peoples; persons with disabilities; and members of visible minorities.
How would an age-related model work?
2.121 Stakeholders expressed differing views on the appropriateness of introducing an age-related reporting or best practice recognition framework, or a body responsible for monitoring such a framework.
2.122 The Law Council of Australia suggested that the employment of mature age workers ‘could be promoted by providing recruitment agencies and employers with formal public recognition’ and that this could be modelled on the annual awards and employer of choice lists compiled by EOWA.
2.123 The ACTU also supported the approach and submitted that
such frameworks assist employers and employees to self-identify internal practices and procedures which may hinder or assist maintaining a diverse workforce, including mature age workers … The ACTU supports the introduction of the benchmarks and would suggest such a model be adapted as part of any prospective framework for mature age employees.
2.124 However, some stakeholders opposed the establishment of a reporting framework requiring employers to report against equality indicators related to age, expressing concerns about the regulatory burden and cost implications. The Ai Group expressed the view that such an approach may also ‘encourage negative stereotypes’ about mature age workers and may ‘shift the focus from developing positive and flexible management practices to the burden of complying with a reporting framework’. 
2.125 Given such concerns, the ALRC considers that the establishment of a body or process of recognition of employer best practice on the basis of age would need to be less formal and onerous than the EOWA framework. The ALRC also emphasises that the focus of any such framework should be on both formal policies, and on outcomes and experience in practice.
2.126 In light of divergent stakeholder views about the appropriateness of establishing a body or process of recognition of employer best practice similar to EOWA, but on the basis of age, the ALRC is interested in further comment by stakeholders on this issue.
Question 2–3 Should the Australian Government establish a body or reporting framework with respect to mature age workers similar to that of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency or its reporting framework? If so, how should such a body or framework operate?
Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth).
 See, Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012 (Cth) for further details of proposed amendments, including renaming EOWA the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. At the time of writing the Bill was before the Senate after a report examining the Bill was released by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee on 10 May 2012.
Employment Equity Act 1995 SC c 44 (Canada).
 Law Council of Australia, Submission 46. See also JobWatch, Submission 25.
 ACTU, Submission 38.
 Australian Industry Group, Submission 37. See also Diversity Council of Australia, Submission 40.
 Australian Industry Group, Submission 37.