Fair Work Australia - Frequently Asked Questions
When will the new Fair Work Australia policy be implemented?
The new policy will be implemented in January 2010. In the time leading up to this there will be changes made to the current Work Choices plicy that will make the transition smoother and provide a better sytem in the lead up to the full roll out of the FWA policy.
Where can I find information on the current and proposed changes to the industrial relations laws?
On our links page you will find all the necessary departments available.
What Do I need To Know For January 2010 and beyond?
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.
Find out more:
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:
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)).
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:
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:
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.
What changes can I expect as an employer or employee?
Follow this link to find current information on the new Industrial Relations reforms.
What is Fair Work Australia
Fair Work Australia (FWA) will replace the AIRC, the Workplace Authority and the Workplace Ombudsman. FWA will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for information, assistance and advice on Workplace issues. FWA is likely to start operating on 1st July 2009.
What are the National Employment Standards?
The National Employment Standards (NES) are a new safety net introduced by the Labor Government. The NES will apply to all employees in the federal system regardless of industry, occupation or income and will come into effect on 1 January 2010. The NES provide employers with the flexibility and simplicity they need while also ensuring employees' key entitlements are protected. The NES are:
What are the Modern Awards?
The AIRC have been set the job of developing modern awards to be in effect from 1st
i. Skill-based classification and career structures; and
There is a strong emphasis on collective bargaining in this legislation. Workplace agreements will now be known as enterprise agreements. They will be required to pass the Better Off Overall Test (BOOT), which will be similar to the No-Disadvantage-Test. There is much focus on Good Faith Bargaining.