A Beginner’s Guide to Industrial Relations

IR Simplified: Beginners Guide To Industrial Relations

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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

How To Make Sure You Are Paying Your Staff Right?

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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.

Fair Work Ombudsman - Pay And Conditions Tool

FWO P.A.C.T. screenshot

Screenshot of Fair Work Ombudsman's Pay And Conditions Tool

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

Are They An Employee Or Contractor?

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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

Episode 50: IR Simplified Podcast – Inappropriate Language

Episode 49: IR Simplified Podcast - No business should escape unfair dismissal laws

Episode 50: IR Simplified Podcast - Inappropriate Language

In this week's episode of the IR Simplified podcast I talk about the following:
  • 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
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Enterprise Agreements

Enterprise Agreements - IR Simplified

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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? Planning Negotiation Good Faith Bargaining Protected Industrial Action Voting Fair Work Commission After Approval

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

Enterprise Agreements Part 4: Good Faith Bargaining

Good Faith Bargaining - IR Simplified

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This is part 3 in the series on enterprise agreements. You can find the lead post in the series here. In the previous article, Enterprise Agreements - Negotiations, I talked about the process of negotiating an enterprise agreement. This article goes into a bit more detail on the good faith bargaining part of enterprise agreement negotiations. This article goes into more detail on what good faith bargaining is.

Legislation

The Fair Work Act 2009, does specify some requirements that must be met, for the bargaining agents to be bargaining in good faith. 228 Bargaining representatives must meet the good faith bargaining requirements
(1) The following are the good faith bargaining requirements that a bargaining representative for a proposed enterprise agreement must meet:

(a) attending, and participating in, meetings at reasonable times; (b) disclosing relevant information (other than confidential or commercially sensitive information) in a timely manner; (c) responding to proposals made by other bargaining representatives for the agreement in a timely manner; (d) giving genuine consideration to the proposals of other bargaining representatives for the agreement, and giving reasons for the bargaining representative’s responses to those proposals; (e) refraining from capricious or unfair conduct that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining; (f) recognising and bargaining with the other bargaining representatives for the agreement.

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