The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 has passed through
both Houses of Parliament and received Royal Assent on 28 June
As a result, the majority of the amendments to the Fair Work
Act 2009 (FW Act) set out in the amendment Bill will take
effect on 1 January 2014, although some of the family friendly
measures may start operating before that date.
Main amendments to the FW Act
A new anti-bullying jurisdiction will enable a worker who
reasonably believes that they have been bullied at work to apply to
the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to prevent them from
being bullied at work.
Right of entry
There are a number of changes to right of entry, including the
lunch room or meal break area being the default venue for union
meetings if agreement about the venue cannot be reached between the
employer and the union, the arrangements for accommodation and
transport to enable a union official to exercise right of entry
rights in remote areas and the FWC having the ability to deal with
disputes about the frequency of visits by union officials for
discussions with employees.
Family friendly measures
Various family friendly measures are included in the amendments
to the FW Act. The changes include that any period of special
maternity leave taken by an employee will not reduce her
entitlement to unpaid parental leave and the increase from three
weeks to eight weeks for concurrent parental leave that may be
taken by a couple.
There will also be an expansion of the right to request flexible
working arrangements to more groups of employees, the requirement
to consult with employees about the impact of changes to rosters or
working hours (in particular to family and caring responsibilities)
and expanding the right for pregnant women to transfer to a safe
When the amendments come into effect, parties to general
protections dismissal disputes will be able to consent to the FWC
arbitrating the dispute as an alternative to court proceedings.
Varying modern awards
A new modern award objective will be introduced that requires
the FWC, when making or varying a modern award, to consider the
need to provide additional remuneration for employees working
overtime, unsocial, irregular or unpredictable hours, working on
weekends or public holidays, or working shifts.
Role of the FWC
The amendments to the FW Act also clarify the FWC's ability
to conciliate, mediate, express opinions and make recommendations
when conducting conferences.
An overview of the details of these amendments will be featured
in our August 2013 edition of Workplace Matters.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).