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Fair Work Australia - A new approach to creating balance in the workplace.all aspects of employment laws, workers rights and employer rights. AWA, minimum wage and employee awards are revamped.


2011 Annual wage review


Information on the 2011 wage review and the increase to the minimum wage can be found by clicking here


1st January 2010

From 1 January 2010 there are several important changes in Australia’s workplace laws that affect all employers and employees in the national workplace relations system.

The changes include the introduction of new National Employment Standards (NES), many employers in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia moving into the national system, and the commencement of modern awards.

Employers and employees need to be prepared for these changes.

National Employment Standards (NES)

The Fair Work Act provides a safety net of enforceable minimum employment terms and conditions through the National Employment Standards (NES).

The NES sets out 10 minimum workplace entitlements which apply to all employers and employees in the national workplace relations system from 1 January 2010 (however only certain entitlements apply to casual employees).

The NES replaces the non-pay rate provisions of the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard (the Standard), which applies up to and including 31 December 2009.

Fair Work Information Statement

From 1 January 2010, all employers covered by the national workplace relations system have an obligation to give each new employee a Fair Work Information Statement (the Statement) before, or as soon as possible after, the employee starts employment.



Sole traders, partnerships & others moving into the national system

From 1 January 2010, sole traders, partnerships, other unincorporated entities and non-trading corporations in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania are covered by the national system rather than their own specific state system. Employers that were already operating under the national system continue to be covered (eg. Pty Ltd businesses, employers in the ACT, NT and Victoria).

There are special transitional rules for employers in these states to help them move into the national system,including:

  • State awards that covered these employers and employees before 1 January 2010 continue to apply and are known as Division 2B State awards. They automatically terminate at the end of 31 December 2010 (except for State enterprise awards). These employers and employees are then covered by a relevant modern award.
  • State employment agreements that covered these employers and employees continue to operate until terminated or replaced and are known as Division 2B State employment agreements


However, state awards and state employment agreements operate alongside the National Employment Standards (NES). This means that, employees must receive at least the minimum entitlements in the NES (to the extent that they apply), along with any other entitlements in their state award or workplace agreement (provided that these are at least as beneficial as the corresponding NES entitlement(s)).


Modern awards

From 1 January 2010 modern awards replace existing awards in most industries.

Modern awards are industry or occupation-based enforceable minimum employment standards which apply in addition to the NES.

Modern awards cover all employers and employees who perform work in those industries or occupations covered by a particular modern award. However, modern awards may not apply to some managers or higher income employees (who have an appropriate guarantee of annual earnings of more than $108,300 annually) even if a modern award covers the industry in which they work.

Modern awards contain terms and conditions about:

  • minimum wages
  • overtime and penalty rates
  • types of employment
  • work arrangements (eg. rosters, variation to working hours)
  • hours of work
  • rest breaks
  • classifications
  • allowances
  • leave and leave loadings
  • superannuation
  • procedures for consultation, representation and dispute settlement.

Some modern awards also contain terms about redundancy.

Transition to modern awards

Modern awards were created to establish one set of minimum conditions for employers and employees across Australia who work in the same industries and occupations.

As the modern awards replace thousands of federal and state-based awards, the impact of the wages and conditions in the modern awards vary between states, industries and employers.

To lessen the financial impact of the new arrangements, modern awards may contain transitional provisions which allow increases and decreases in minimum conditions to be progressively phased in.

Modern awards may contain:

  • a model phasing schedule
  • transitional provisions specific to the modern award
  • no transitional arrangements at all.

In modern awards containing the model phasing schedule, new rates of pay will not come into force until 1 July 2010 and may be phased in over 5 annual instalments.

If there are no transitional provisions in a modern award, then the wages specified in a modern award need to be paid from 1 January 2010.


Parental Leave and You.

Parental leave: Employees are entitled to 12 months' unpaid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child aged up to 16 years. A new parent can request an extension to 24 months' unpaid leave, reduced by the amount of leave taken by their partner. Employers may refuse the request, but only on reasonable business grounds.

Employees of some small businesses (sole traders or partnerships) ''in the middle'' of parental leave on January 1 are entitled to continue their leave under the new rules.

Former provisions: new mothers or fathers could take up to 52 weeks' continuous unpaid leave as the primary carer.

Same-sex relationships were not recognised for parental leave. Parental leave for adoption was restricted to children under five.

Return-to-work guarantee: A new parent is entitled to return to the same position they held before taking parental leave. If the position no longer exists, they must return to a position that is nearest in status and pay.

Flexible hours: Parents of children under school age or children under 18 with a disability can request flexible work arrangements including changes to hours, patterns (job-sharing) or location. Employees must have worked for 12 months. Employers must respond in 21 days in writing and can refuse only on reasonable business grounds. The Fair Work Australia tribunal can mediate in any disputes on the issue.

Formerly: employees had no right to request flexible hours.

Community service leave: Unlimited unpaid leave for voluntary emergency activities and up to 10 days' paid jury leave.

Formerly: no entitlement.

Compassionate leave: 10 days' paid carers' leave for every year of service, which accumulates.

Formerly: casuals not covered. Annual limit of 10 days' paid carers' leave.

Information statement: All new employees must be given a Fair Work Information Statement as soon as they start work.

&Termination: Employees should be given four weeks' notice of termination and up to 16 weeks' redundancy pay, based on length of service.

Source: Fair Work Online


16th December 2009

Danny Cloghan, whose prior roles include being chief of staff to former health minister and attornery general Jim McGinty, is among six new appointments to Fair Work Australia.

Minister for Workplace Relations Julia Gillard announced the appointments this week.

Under the federal government's new workplace relations system, Fair Work Australia commissioners are appointed to be "independent umpires".

Ms Gillard said the newly appointed commissioners are "fair-minded and capable professionals from varied backgrounds".

However, five of the six new commissioners come from a union background, with only one having experince with an employer group.

The new commissioners are: Peter Hampton, Danny Cloghan, Anne Gooley, John Ryan, Michelle Bissett and Julius Roe.

Mr Cloghan is currently acting executive director, Finance and Corporate Division, WA Department of Health. He has almost 30 years involvement in workplace relations matters, including in the union movement.

Mr Cloghan is currently also a Director, Community CPS Credit Union. He holds a Master of Industrial Relations and Bachelor of Arts degree.


1st July 2009

Fair Work Australia Begins


Small businesses are no longer exempt from unfair dismissal laws as the 2009-10 financial year ushers in a new industrial relations system.

From today, the Federal Government's new Fair Work regulations will replace a raft of the Howard government's WorkChoices laws.

No business, regardless of its size, will be exempt from unfair dismissal provisions.

Under the new provisions, there will be greater powers for the new industrial relations umpire to enforce good-faith bargaining.

Other changes include new standards for collective bargaining and the restoration of some safety net conditions.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman David Gregory says one of the biggest changes is to the unfair dismissal laws.

"The exemption that has been in place for businesses with 100 employees or less for the past three years comes to an end," he said.

Mr Gregory says it is difficult for small businesses to keep up with all the changes.

"We've seen the industrial relations pendulum now really swing back and forward several times over the past decade and it does make it difficult for businesses to keep up," he said.

"But that's not an excuse. These are new legal obligations. Businesses do need to understand what they are all about.

"They do need to be complying with the changes to these laws."

Australian Industry Group spokesman Stephen Smith says the workplace relations balance has shifted.

"The rights of unions and the power of unions is being increased somewhat," he said.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Sharan Burrow says the new measures are what Australians voted for at the last federal election.

Ms Burrow says WorkChoices is finally dead and buried.

"It'll certainly be a celebration, but it's a day of course when unions get back to business," she said.

"We have fundamental rights back in place. WorkChoices is off the agenda and people can go to work today knowing that they can't be sacked unfairly.

"The unfair dismissal rights are back in place."

courtesy of ABC news


Fair Work Australia Inaugural Sitting


The inaugural sitting of Fair Work Australia will be at 9.00 am on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 at 80 William Street, Sydney.

Click here to watch it live.


Media Statement - 30th June 2009

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, has today announced that funding offers have been made under the Fair Work Education and Information program.

As promised at the last election, the Government is facilitating a targeted education and information program to ensure employees, employers and small businesses understand the new workplace relations system.

Following a competitive selection exercise conducted by an independent panel, 19 community, employee, employer and small business organisations have been offered a total of $12.9m in Fair Work Education and Information Program grants. A list of the successful applicants is attached.

The bodies have been selected based on the ability to meet the requirements of the program as set out in the 'Fair Work Education and Information Program Guidelines for Applicants'. The Guidelines are available online at www.deewr.gov.au/newwrlaws

Grant recipients will provide information and education services to employees, employers and small business operators about the Fair Work Act and how it will affect them.

A key focus of this phase of the program is to ensure employers, particularly small businesses, learn about the new system and comply with it, including new aspects such as the Fair Dismissal Code for Small Business.

It is proposed that a further round of the program be implemented in coming months with a specific focus on employees. It will cover the provision of information to employees about the new safety net (the 10 National Employment Standards and modern awards).

This round will be implemented in the lead up to the commencement of the new safety net on 1 January 2010.

Information and education services to be provided by the current grant recipients will include interactive online material in multiple languages; workshops; and a broad range of information materials. Details of the scheduled and publicly accessible workshops will be made available at www.fairwork.gov.au

The Rudd Government understands that with any change of the scale associated with the Fair Work Act, there is a need for clear and reliable information so that small businesses, employers and employees are able to understand the changes to ensure minimal disruption.

From 1 July 2009, www.fairwork.gov.au and Fair Work Infoline 131 394 will provide a 'one stop shop' for education, information and advice on all aspects of the new workplace relations system.

This replaces an alphabet soup of agencies which were almost impossible for organisations and individuals to navigate through.

These changes are the changes put to the Australian people at the last election and follow an unprecedented level of consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

In the meantime, more information on the changes to the workplace relations system, including on Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman, is available at www.deewr.gov.au/newwrlaws

Organisations offered grants under the Fair Work Education and Information Program


Funding Offer

ACT Chamber of Commerce

$156 600

Aged and Community Services Australia

$208 800

Australian Mines and Metals Association

$435 000

Australian Chamber Alliance

$2 548 000

Australian Council of Trade Unions

$ 2 549 023

Australian Hotels Association

$234 900

Australian Human Resources Institute

$309 400

Australian Industry Group

$1 911 000

Australian Retailers Association

$400 200

Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation

$217 500

Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia

$2 220 000

Job Watch

$364 800

Master Builders Association

$282 100

Master Grocers Association

$151 647

National Farmers' Federation

$348 000

National Retail Association

$217 500

Recruitment and Consulting Services Association Ltd

$136 500

Restaurant and Catering Australia

$130 500

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

$69 600


$12 893 070





20th March 2009


The Government has agreed that:

  • Until 1 January 2011, the threshold used to define a small business for the purpose of applying the unfair dismissal arrangements will be less than 15 Full Time Equivalent employees.
  • The number of full time equivalent employees is to be calculated on a straightforward basis by averaging the ordinary hours worked by all employees in the business over the 4 week period immediately prior to the employee’s termination, and dividing that by 38, being ordinary weekly hours.
  • From 1 January 2011, the threshold used to define a small business for the purpose of applying the unfair dismissal arrangements will be based on a simple headcount of employees as provided currently in the Fair Work Bill and detailed in Forward with Fairness, Labor’s election policy.
  • The amendment to the small business definition will be progressed through the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 when it is debated before the Parliament.
  • The objects of the Fair Work Bill will acknowledge the special circumstance of small and medium size enterprises. This amendment will also be progressed through the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 when it is debated before the Parliament.
  • A specialist information and assistance unit for small and medium size enterprises will be established within the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
  • Senator Fielding will move the relevant amendments detailed when the Fair Work (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2009 is debated before the Parliament.


For the full press release go HERE



In January 2010 the 'Fair Work Australia' policy will begin, and the current 'Work Choices' industrial relations laws will be scrapped.

The federal legislation will have a new approach to all aspects of employment laws, workers rights and employer rights. AWA, minimum wage and employee awards will be revamped.

The current industrial relations system is in the process of a big shake up.

This site is the place to find independant information and latest updates on the new FEDERAL LEGISLATION being implemented by the current Labour Government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and employment secretary Julia Gillard.

There are many pieces of information on the current workchoices policy including:-

  • federal minimum wage
  • minimum wage increase,
  • awards rates,
  • overtime rates,
  • industrial relations laws,
  • current minimum wage,
  • unfair dismissal appeal process,
  • workers compensation,
  • federal wage rates
  • arbitration
  • discrimination
  • AWA
  • employee rights
  • employment law

Information is currently scattered across the internet. The aim of this site is to provide a hub of information for both workers and employers alike. All aspects of employment laws will be covered.

It can be difficult to understand exactly how government legislation will affect employee rights and employers rights and obligations. We aim to provide a service which will assist to make sense of the new laws by having articles and official press releases available as and when they happen.

Here you can find the answers you need for all your IR law, workchoices, fair work bill questions, aswell as links to all current state and federal departments relevant to current workchoices and the upcoming Fair Work Australia policy.

Maybe you are looking for the current minimum wage or information on the federal employment laws. If the answers aren't here or you are having difficulty finding an answer then please visit our FAQ page .




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