Fair Work Act


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Pharmaceutical & Medical Professionals Fair Work Act Seminar in conjunction with Australian Business Lawyers.

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  • Fair Work Act

    1. 1. The Fair Work Act – 8 Months On Tim Capelin Managing Partner Australian Business Lawyers [email_address] (02) 9458 7497 3 March 2010
    2. 2. Agenda Alternatives from Award Compliance Right to Request Flexibility Other New Elements of NES Dismissal Claims Right of Entry Wrap Up New Awards
    3. 3. New Awards <ul><li>Aged Care Award </li></ul><ul><li>Clerks – Private Sector Award </li></ul><ul><li>Health Professionals and Support Services Award </li></ul><ul><li>Medical Practitioners Award </li></ul><ul><li>Nurses Award </li></ul><ul><li>Pharmaceutical Industry Award </li></ul>
    4. 4. Award Alternatives – Determining Best Option Consider what you want Determine if employee is award covered Enterprise Agreements Individual Flexibility Arrangements
    5. 5. Award Alternatives – Enterprise Agreements Agreement Types Employee enterprise agreements Flexibility Arrangements Common Law Contracts Multi-business enterprise agreements Union enterprise agreements Union Greenfields enterprise agreements
    6. 6. Enterprise Agreements - Transition Collective agreement based transitional instruments Individual agreement based transitional instruments Award based transitional instruments Collective Agreements Pre-reform certified agreements ITEAs Collective State Agreements AWAs Individual State Agreements (Federal) awards NAPSAs
    7. 7. Enterprise Agreements: Interaction between transitional agreements and modern awards <ul><li>Modern awards do not apply to an employee covered by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a workplace agreement made after 27 March 2006 (including ITEAs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an AWA made at any time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a preserved state agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>BUT…..the base rate of pay in all instruments must not be less than the relevant modern award rate </li></ul><ul><li>AND…transitional agreements are subject to the NES from 1 January 2010 </li></ul>
    8. 8. Enterprise Agreements - Main Elements <ul><li>Agreement content largely unlimited, but must be about ‘permitted matters’ </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum 4 year term </li></ul><ul><li>Bargaining to occur in good faith </li></ul><ul><li>Agreement must be better off overall </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for Industrial action remain limited </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Work Australia may intervene in negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>FWA may impose an Agreement on parties </li></ul><ul><li>FWA must approve completed Agreement </li></ul>
    9. 9. Award Alternatives – Individual Flexibility Arrangements <ul><li>Need Award or Enterprise Agreement Flexibility Clause </li></ul><ul><li>IFA MUST be in writing </li></ul><ul><li>Genuinely Agreed </li></ul><ul><li>Pass the BOOT </li></ul><ul><li>Terminable on no more than 28 days notice </li></ul><ul><li>Signed by both parties and parent or guardian if under 18 years </li></ul>
    10. 10. Award Alternatives – Individual Flexibility Arrangements <ul><li>Cannot make IFA condition of employment </li></ul><ul><li>Should make employment contract compatible with IFA </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide IFA and no IFA options </li></ul>
    11. 11. Right to Request Flexibility – 4 issues <ul><li>Employee eligibility to ask for different working arrangements. </li></ul><ul><li>Employers’ obligation to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>grant or refuse the request; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide written reasons for any refusal. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Superior benefits remain enforceable under state legislation, enterprise agreements or other written agreements. </li></ul><ul><li>Sanctions - this apparently weak right that is made potent because of the written reasons. </li></ul>
    12. 12. R2R: Issue 1 - Eligibility The EMPLOYEE A parent or other with responsibility for caring for the relevant child The EMPLOYMENT 12 months continuous emp or long term casual The REASON To assist in caring for the relevant child . The CHILD : Under school age or under 18 years old with a disability
    13. 13. R2R: Issue 2 - Employer must grant or refuse a request <ul><li>The Employer cannot lawfully respond by saying it will grant the request subject to trial. </li></ul><ul><li>The Employer must grant or refuse – failure to do so, attracts a civil penalty. </li></ul><ul><li>If the Employer wants to trial the request it could: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask the employee to withdraw the request, enter into a trial and then resubmit the request; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refuse the request (and provide written reasons), trial the requested arrangement and ask the employee to resubmit the request. </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. R2R: Issue 3 – Superior Benefits <ul><li>The Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1995 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive obligation on employers to reasonably accommodate requests for flexible working arrangements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlike the R2R, the Vic Act provides an enforceable direct mechanism if the employee alleges the employer has failed to comply with the obligation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Some) Enterprise Agreement Provisions & Contracts of Employment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Broaden eligibility; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impose a positive obligation to accommodate requests; or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide that the Fair Work Tribunal can enforce employer breach. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. R2R: Issue 4 - R2R not a toothless tiger <ul><li>Failure to respond at all or give written reasons for refusal attracts a civil penalty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$6,600 for a non-compliant individual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$33,000 for a non-compliant corporation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is not a statutory mechanism for third party review of the ‘’reasonable business reasons for refusal’’ (unlike Victoria), however - </li></ul>
    16. 16. R2R is not a toothless tiger cont <ul><li>A dispute resolution clause in an EA or other written agreement can give the Fair Work Tribunal power to resolve a dispute over a refusal. </li></ul><ul><li>The written reasons should be carefully drafted because they may be a potent tool in other claims: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-Discrimination Act (NSW): Discrimination on the ground of carer’s responsibilities pre, during or on termination. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sex Discrimination Act (Cth): Discrimination on the ground of family responsibilities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair Work Act (Cth): Adverse action because of family or carer’s responsibilities. </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Other Elements of NES 10 STANDARDS 1. Hours of work 2. Parental leave 4. Personal leave 5. Community Service leave 6. Public holidays 7. Info in Workplace 8. Termination of employment & redundancy 9. Long service leave 3. Annual leave
    18. 18. Dismissal Claims <ul><li>Relevant Environmental Elements </li></ul><ul><li>GFC </li></ul><ul><li>publicity around re-introduction of unfair dismissal for smaller businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Key Changes </li></ul><ul><li>Employers with less than 101 employees </li></ul><ul><li>change to redundancy exclusion </li></ul><ul><li>change to proceedings processes </li></ul><ul><li>increase in categories for potential claims </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>more contested terminations </li></ul><ul><li>more post-termination payments </li></ul>
    19. 19. Entry to investigate suspected breach Entry to hold discussions Right of Entry Laws Union eligibility is key to entry Increased potential for demarcation disputes Wider access to documentation including non-member information OHS entry Union Right of Entry
    20. 20. Wrap up <ul><li>Be across your new awards </li></ul><ul><li>Consider best alternatives to awards </li></ul><ul><li>R2R requires good processes and probably management training </li></ul><ul><li>NES applies to all and cannot be avoided </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of new elements of dismissal laws </li></ul>
    21. 21. Questions