Current Issues in Australian Employment Relations 2011 MG315

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Current Issues in Australian Employment Relations 2011 MG315

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2. Where are we heading? Need to have some idea of where we have come from Need to understand some of the issues previously canvassed

3. Key Employment Law Industrial Relations Workplace health and Safety Discrimination Workers Compensation


5. Fair Work Act 2009 Why Fairness ?? Criticism that individual bargaining produced unfair outcomes and caused compromisation of workers rights and entitlements Need to establish a platform of statutory minimum entitlements for all employees

6. The Key Principles Less emphasis on “one on one bargaining” and more emphasis on collective bargaining Increasing number of statutory minimum entitlements Access to Unfair dismissal for small business (>15 people- after 12 mths) Streamline dispute resolution processes

7. What employers and employees does the FW Act cover? All private sector workers Commonwealth and territory workers Nb State Government and Local Govt employees covered by state systems.

8. Some Oz History Australia was invaded by British in 1778 A number of separate colonies (states) formed eg QLD, NSW Federal Constitution 1901 -Meant had one lot of laws for whole of Australia and then separate State laws Introduction of basic wage for workers Basic wage + skills (margins 1952) 3 tiered system (add on industry payments) Total wage concept (1972) The ACTU /Govt Prices and Incomes Accord 1983 Enterprise bargaining 1991

9. MAIN ASPECTS OF FAIR WORK LAW the National Employment Standards (NES) Modern Awards Minimum Wages and General Protections

11. Employees Entitlements & Protections Minimum Wages Fair Work Australia (FWA) must annually undertake an annual wage review It must review minimum wages and may set, vary or revoke modern award minimum wages and review the national minimum wage order and make a new national minimum wage order

12. Collective Agreements Employers and employees can make single-enterprise agreements and multi-enterprise agreements

13. Collective Agreements FWA must approve agreements before they can commence The Agreement must pass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) before it can be approved Commence 7 days after approval

14. Collective Bargaining Good Faith Bargaining Bargaining representatives for proposed agreements must bargain in good faith This involves attending and participating in meetings at reasonable times disclosing relevant information in a timely manner

15. Collective Bargaining Workplace Determinations FWA can make workplace determinations to settle terms and conditions in some circumstances FWA can make - low-paid workplace determinations - industrial action related workplace determinations and - bargaining workplace related determinations

16. Industrial Action Protected industrial action is where employer given 72 hours notice and can only be taken during bargaining for enterprise agreements and not before nominal expiry of enterprise agreement

17. Rights of Entry Permit-holders rights of entry have been expanded to permit entry for the purpose of holding discussions with employees at any workplace whose industrial interests the permit-holder's union can represent and inspection of all relevant documents relevant to a suspected contravention

18. Fairness at Work Some practical examples of how the issues will be explored……………….

19. Hours of Work Principles for maximum hours (38 per week) Capacity for employer to request reasonable additional hours – subject to employee agreeing and not being unreasonable How do you know what extra reasonable hours will be?? Health and safety Personal circumstances Needs of workplace Whether additional remuneration paid

20. Flexible Working Arrangements Employee who is a parent or has a responsibility for the care of a child Requests from employees to alter the way they work Business grounds v Personal grounds

21. Parental leave and return to work Planning for changes Normally employed for 12 months before leave can be sought Return to work Notion of safe job

22. Annual Leave 4 week entitlement Cashing out provisions within awards (up to 2 weeks)

23. Personal carers leave Impacts of an ageing workforce Who is family, who is a carer and who is sick Medical certificates v “take my word for it”

24. Termination, change and redundancy Reinforcement of basic entitlements Clarifying how to terminate lawfully Obligation to pay mandatory entitlement and to give minimum periods of notice Obligations to consult

25. Fair Work Information Statement An information sheet to be provided to new employees Setting out the basic entitlements and information directing employees to where to get help Fair Work Australia

26. Award Modernisation

27. What is an award ? It is a bit like Wages Regulation Order Covers specific issues about wages and working conditions Identifies coverage Classifications Hours and Arrangements Penalties etc

28. The Major List of Awards Coal Mining Retail Glue and gelatine Rubber, plastic etc Higher Education Security Hospitality Textile and Clothing Metals & Assoc Industries Vehicle Manufacturing Mining Private sector clerical occupations Racing Rail

29. AWA-reliant employees by industry

30. Role of Award Flexibilty Provisions in Awards An award flexibility allows departure from the standard award arrangement provided that there is agreement between an individual employer and an employee, or the majority of employees, in the enterprise or part of the enterprise concerned. Generally an award will determine the scope of that flexibility – that is the boundaries in which people can negotiate within

31. What are unfair dismissal laws? Commenced in 1994 because recognised needed a cheap way of protecting rights of workers Designed to be initially quick flexible informal and provide people access to tribunals when unfairly treated at work emphasis on reinstatement (but this is a bit of a dream)

32. Minimum employment period 12 months for Small Businesses (< 15 employees) 6 months for others When “notice” given important

33. What is an unfair dismissal? Dismissed It was harsh unjust or unreasonable Not consistent with SBFDC Not a genuine redundancy

34. Not dismissed if… Fixed term Specified task Seasonal employees Demotion (salary or duties) NB. Usual risks apply to fixed term employees

35. THE FUTURE How can we measure whether the workplace will be fairer etc?:


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