By Jonathan Mamaril

The Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 received Royal Assent on December 4, 2012 and introduces a raft of changes to the original 2009 legislation that the Government envisages will help to further reinforce the effectiveness of Australia's workplace relations watchdog.

Major points include:

  • Changes to unfair dismissal provisions have been designed to improve the efficiency of the application processes for unfair dismissal claims and general protections dismissal claims with the time limit for lodgment of claims being limited to 21 days. The time limits that previously applied to these claims were 14 days and 60 days respectively.
  • Structural changes to the tribunal will be implemented including a change of name from Fair Work Australia to the Fair Work Commission (FWC)
  • Changes identified by the Productivity Commission will be applied to new processes determining the suitability of funds listed as default superannuation funds for modern awards including the review of default funds every four years.
  • Other technical adjustments to the legislation include the prohibition of opt-out clauses in enterprise agreements, the amendment of provisions as they apply to varying modern awards and the clarification of provisions that regulate protected industrial action and the conduct of protected action ballots.

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.