Industrial Union United Voice is set to challenge the rollout of
a series of Individual Flexibility Agreements
(IFAs) by Spotless Group to cleaners in Victoria,
South Australia and New South Wales in the Federal Court, claiming
breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009.
United Voice has alleged that Spotless threatened cleaners with
reduced shifts and overtime if they did not agree to proposed IFAs
that would have allowed each cleaner and Spotless Group to opt out
of parts of the modern award, and, in the process, that Spotless
breached the Act by:
engaging in adverse action;
exercising undue influence; and
making false and or misleading statements concerning workplace
Spotless Group has rejected all claims raised. However the
prospect of this action raises a number of important issues for
employers when negotiating IFAs with employees.
Lessons for Employers
When negotiating an IFA with an employee, an employer
ensure the IFA complies with all requirements of the Fair Work
Act and, in particular, that the employee is better off
confirm the terms of the IFA are genuinely agreed to by the
ensure the IFA only amends allowed terms relevant to modern
awards or enterprise agreements respectively;
negotiate each IFA on an individual basis with each
ensure employees are not forced to enter an IFA, treated
adversely nor discriminated against for refusing to enter an
ensure employment is not made conditional upon entering an IFA;
be aware that failing to ensure that an IFA complies with the
Fair Work Act may result in their business incurring significant
Cooper Grace Ward was named Best Australian Law Firm in the BRW
Client Choice Awards 2010 - Revenue < $50m. Joint Best
Australian Law Firm in the BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 - Revenue
The firm has also been named as the fastest growing law firm in
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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.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
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