As the clock strikes 100 days since the Coalition government
came to power, we thought it was time to review progress on several
of the Federal Government's promised industrial relations
Not Averse to Reaction When It Comes to Adverse
Action. During the election campaign the Coalition
undertook to clarify that the subjective intention of the
decision-maker is the central consideration when it comes to
employers making decisions which have an adverse effect on
employees. The Coalition had also promised to convene an Australian
Law Reform Commission Inquiry into the reverse onus of proof.
Though there is not yet any indication as to when any changes will
be introduced, the Fair Work Commission has issued a draft bench
book for general protections matters and is seeking public comments
by 27 December 2013.
Union Regulation. The Coalition flagged the
introduction of new union official duties as well as a new
regulator (to sit within the Fair Work Ombudsman). The Government
has now introduced the Fair Work (Registered Organisations)
Amendment Bill which passed through the Federal lower house, the
House of Representatives, on 12 December 2013. The Bill, if passed
in its current form, proposes several changes which will take
effect early next year, including:
establishing an independent authority from 1 July 2014 within
the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor and regulate registered
organizations (i.e. unions);
new investigations powers;
increasing disclosure requirements of earnings of top union
increasing penalties including criminal penalties for breaches
of officers' duties (these are likely to reflect obligations of
directors pursuant to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)).
We will keep you updated on new developments when Parliament
resumes in the new year.
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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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