The Government has announced further reforms to the Employment
Relations Act (the "Act") which it
proposes to include in legislation, which would come into effect in
the second half of 2013.
Those reforms include:
Amending the duty of good faith in section 4 of the Act to
align it more closely with the privacy principles in the Privacy
Act. This would mean that employers would not be required to
provide an employee with access to confidential personal
information about another person, or evaluative material about the
employee concerned, where an employer is proposing to make a
decision that will, or is likely to, affect an employee's
Changes relating to collective bargaining, including not
requiring the parties to conclude a collective agreement. Employers
will still be required to bargain in good faith with the intention
of reaching an agreement, but it will be easier to cease fruitless
bargaining where it is clear that agreement will not be reached. It
is intendedto provide a process to seek a declaration from the
Employment Relations Authority that collective bargaining has
Incorporating the Employment Relations (Rest Breaks and Meal
Breaks) Amendment Bill into this Amendment Bill. This will provide
employees and employers with more flexibility in determining rest
and meal breaks.
An extension of the right to request flexible working
arrangements for all workers, from their first day on the job.
As mentioned in our article, "Supreme Court Decides
Vulnerable Workers Right to Bargain for Redundancy
Entitlements", amendment is proposed to Part 6A of the Act
which provides special protection for specified groups of employees
(for example cleaners) when an employer's business undergoes
restructuring and the employee's work is assigned to a new
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Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
This WHS decision clarified the interpretation of s 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).
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