The Fair Work Bill aims to promote the following in its
a single flexible framework to enable collective bargaining in
good faith; and
the facilitation of good faith bargaining and the making of
enterprise agreements by Fair Work Australia (FWA).
The most notable features are:
Content – The old prohibited content
rules disappear. Agreements may include content about
"permitted matters". This includes matters pertaining to
the relationship between the employer and union (as well as between
employer and employees). This will see the reintroduction of many
old prohibited content items. Deductions of union dues from wages
are specifically allowed. "Unlawful terms" cannot be
included. This includes terms dealing with right of entry.
Joint Venture/Common Enterprise Agreements
– The Act encourages the use of joint venture
agreements by 2 or more employers that are "single interest
Greenfields Agreements – Greenfields
agreements will continue but in a far more restricted capacity, as
they can only be entered into with a union.
Approval – Application must be made
to FWA to approve agreements. Agreements must pass a new
"better off overall" test, that replaces the no
disadvantage test. The test requires each employee and prospective
employee to be better off overall than if the relevant modern award
Flexibility and Consultation re workplace changes
clauses – Each agreement must include an
individual flexibility arrangement, in order to meet the genuine
needs of an employee and the employer plus a term requiring
employers to consult about major workplace changes likely to have a
significant effect on employees. If no such terms are included,
model terms are deemed to be included.
Good faith bargaining – An employer
must not refuse to bargain with another bargaining representative.
This is aimed at preventing employers from refusing to bargain with
a union. FWA is given a comprehensive role in facilitating
bargaining, according to good faith bargaining requirements. These
include requirements relating to attendance and participation at
meetings; disclosing relevant non-confidential information;
genuinely considering proposals; timely responses to proposals; and
refraining from capricious and unfair conduct. FWA may make a wide
variety of orders to ensure that the parties meet good faith
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.
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