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Thursday, 23 January 2014

New Employment Requirements From 1 January 2014

Changes to the Fair Work Act legislated in 2013 took effect from 1 January 2014. The new requirements cover:
  • new anti-bullying measures
  • changes to right of entry
  • requirements for employers to check with employees before changing regular rosters and working hours
  • making arbitration for dismissal disputes available at the Fair Work Commission
  • new timeframes for unlawful termination applications
  • changes to superannuation conditions in modern awards.

The changes were legislated under the previous Gillard Government. Although the Abbott Government has indicated it will make some changes to the Fair Work Act and review other aspects of the Act, legislation has not been introduced to parliament (or passed) varying the changes made by the previous Government. The legislated changes took affect from 1 January.

The changes – in more detail – from 1 January are:

Anti-bullying
From 1 January 2014, a worker in a constitutionally covered business who reasonably believes that he or she has been bullied at work can apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying. The Commission must start to deal with the application within 14 days.

Consent arbitration of general protections and unlawful termination disputes
From 1 January 2014, an applicant can, with the employer's agreement and within 14 days after the day the FWC issues a certificate in general protections dismissal dispute or an unlawful termination dispute, have the dispute arbitrated by the Commission. This consent arbitration is an alternative to a court application.
 
From 1 January 2014, lodgment timeframes for unlawful termination applications made under s.773 of the Fair Work Act 2009 will change:
  • for dismissals that occur on or before 31 December 2013, applications need to be made within 60 days after the date the dismissal took effect.
  • for dismissals that occur on or after 1 January 2014, applications need to be made within 21 days after the date the dismissal took effect.

Consultation term in modern awards and enterprise agreements
From 1 January 2014, modern awards and enterprise agreements must contain a term requiring employers to consult with employees about changes to their regular rosters or ordinary hours of work. By 31 December 2013, the FWC must make determinations varying all modern awards to include the new consultation term.

Right of entry
From 1 January 2014, the FWC has greater capacity to deal with disputes about the frequency of visits to workplaces by permit holders, and the Commission may deal with disputes about the new arrangements for provision of transport and accommodation to permit holders at remote workplaces.

Amended modern awards objective
From 1 January 2014, the modern awards objective will require the FWC to take into account the need to provide additional remuneration for employees working:
  • overtime
  • unsocial, irregular or unpredictable hours
  • weekends or public holidays, or
  • shifts
Click below to view source
Fair Work Commission: About the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013

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