The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2012 (Bill) has today
passed the Senate and now awaits royal assent, and will see a
number of amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) that
will have various implications for your business.
Some of the key amendments all businesses should be aware of
Fair Work Australia (FWA) will become the Fair Work Commission
(FWC). This will be perhaps one of the most visible changes
resulting from the Bill, and with it will come two additional Vice
Presidential Member appointments to FWC
The time limits for lodging unfair dismissal claims and adverse
actions claims in FWA were previously 14 and 60 days respectively -
they are now both 21 days in FWC
FWC will have broader powers to dismiss unfair dismissal cases,
and to award costs against parties, lawyers and other agents.
Amendments to costs provisions signal a move towards restoring
similar provisions previously contained in the Workplace
Relations Act 1996 (Cth)
Opt-out clauses in enterprise agreements will be expressly
prohibited, as will be collective agreements with only one
There will be an introduction of default superannuation funds
in modern awards.
Businesses should welcome the changes to the costs provisions as
they may see costs awarded against applicants and/or their
representatives for unreasonable behaviour, such as a failure to
agree to terms of settlement that oculd have led to the application
being discontinued. The uniform time limits for unfair and adverse
action claims should prevent employees from lodging unfair
dismissal claims and withdrawing their claim to lodge an adverse
action claim in the event that they do not achieve their desired
settlement. This is to be welcomed.
Businesses concerned about the implications of the FWAA are
invited to contact our Australian Workplace Relations, Employment
& Safety team to discuss the changes in further detail.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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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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