They are often touted as one of the beneficial parts of Australia's Fair Work legislation.
When done right, they can help improve the bottom line of a business.
The Coles and H & M enterprise agreement decisions what can happen when a business gets them wrong.
With the H & M rejection still fresh in our minds, here are a few lessons that we should learn from them.
Make Sure The Application Filled Out Correctly
I keep reading that industrial relations in Australia is scary, complex and confusing.
I do not believe that to be the case. What you are about to read is the beginner's guide to industrial relations in Australia.
Just like Ikea and Lego instructions, the Fair Work Act can be a little bit daunting the first time you look at it.
The trick to understanding it is to keep going. After time things will become easier, and it will start to make sense.
The Fair Work Act
The Fair Work Act is the main piece of legislation that everything else branches out from.
For those who came in late, the Fair Work Act 2009 replaced the Workplace Relations Act 1996.
This Fair Work Act did make things simpler for the business owner. It replaced the complex Federal and State award system with 122 new Modern Awards. (I will get to them later)
If it wasn't for the Fair Work Act, we also wouldn't have the following: Read More
Making sure your staff are paid correctly is one of the most important things a business owner should do.
Yet, it appears to be an area that isn't given the level of attention that it should.
One of the most popular reasons for this is that the often repeated line of, "it's all too confusing".
If you subscribe to that excuse, here are a few ways to make sure you are paying your staff right.
It comes as no surprise that the Fair Work Ombudsman's Pay And Conditions Tool (P.A.C.T.) is on this list.
The P.A.C.T. helps both employers and employees check their relevant pay and conditions.
It even helps those employers who don't know which Modern Award applies to them.
This browser-based tool is relatively easy to use, with only basic answers required. Read More
There appears to be a lot of confusion among small business owners about the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.
There is a mistaken belief that if the person supplies an ABN and invoice that they are an independent contractor.
Sadly for those employers who have fallen for this, it is incorrect.
There may be instances where a legal determination is required. Though generally speaking, the following tests can be used to work out if they are an employee or not. Read More
Screenshot of Fair Work Ombudsman's Pay And Conditions Tool
In this week's episode of the IR Simplified podcast I talk about the following:
Episode 50: IR Simplified Podcast - Inappropriate Language
Enterprise agreements. There are a lot of rumours and myths surrounding them.
Here is the no BS version of what they are:
What Are They?
Good Faith Bargaining
Protected Industrial Action
Fair Work Commission
- Inappropriate language in the workplace, and how to deal with it.
- Whats been happening since the last podcast
- A reminder about the LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
- How you can be part of future episodes of the IR Simplified Podcast
What Are They?
With regards to the Fair Work Act 2009, an enterprise agreement is an agreement on certain employment conditions between an employer and their employee(s).
Enterprise Agreements can be between:
a) An employer and group of employees;
b) More than one employer and group of employees;
c) One of more employers and one of more unions for a genuine new enterprise (Greenfields Agreement)
Modern Awards v Enterprise Agreements
A Modern Award covers specific employees within a particular industry.
An Enterprise Agreement covers employees of a particular employer(s).
Enterprise Agreements can bundle a number of different Modern Awards that apply to a workplace into the one document. Once the Enterprise Agreement has been approved, the Modern Award(s) no longer apply.
However, the wages and conditions cannot make an employee ‘worse off’ when compared to the relevant Modern Award. Read More