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Implications of Contemporay Workplace Legislation in Australia

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The implications and effects of contemporary workplace legislation. (Australia 2006)

The Bill that was introduced to parliament late last year and which was passed is nearly 700 pages long and it makes sweeping amendments to the 800 page Workplace Relations Act. A consolidated version of the proposed new Act has not been released by the Government which has further complicated the already very complex task of analysing the implications of the Bill. (Workplace Relations Amendment)

The Government has announced its intention to have the Bill passed by Parliament before the end of 2005 and for the legislation to be operative in the first quarter of 2006. (Workplace Relations Amendment)

Implications and effects of contemporary workplace legalisation are vast with a lot of people in the Australian workforce which are bound to have a negative effect from this legislation and some people in the workforce benefiting from it as well, but overall the new workplace legislations recently introduced in Australia is going to benefit Employers more than anyone else. The implications of the new workplace legislation affects anyone who works or employs people in Australia the reason being is that the new legislation laws are federal and overrule all state laws unless stated. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

In the new federal system. The federal government will be will establish a new standard called the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard or AFPCS. This standard will set out the 5 minimum conditions to employees. These minimum conditions include, maximum ordinary hours a week, which may be averaged over a period of 12 months. Another minimum condition is paid annual leave for at least 4 weeks per year plus additional weeks leave for shift workers. Parental leave of 52 weeks unpaid must be included. Personal leave of 10 days a year of which all of it can be used for carer’s leave plus two additional days of unpaid carer’s leave and two days compassionate leave per occasion. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

Federal awards and provisions which are more favourable than the new legislation will currently stay in place. Anything less favourable than the new standard will have to meet the new standard AFPCS. The new legislation will override the minimum conditions set out by the Industrial Relations Act 1999 which included state awards and agreement. The new legislations states that state minimum conditions will not apply anymore. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

The minimum wages will now be set by the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) and not the Australian Industrial Relations Commission which will lose it powers to set minimum wages. The AFPC will now set and adjust wages across the board including minimum wage, wages for juniors, apprenticeships, trainees, employees with disabilities, piece workers and workers with casual loadings. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

The new federal agreements will no longer have to pass a no-disadvantage test. Federal collective agreements and individual agreements will continue under the new legislation. For agreements to be approved they only have to meet the AFPC four standard minimum conditions alongside the minimum rate of pay. The AIRC will have now have no role in analysing and changing any agreements. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

All new agreements will be able to remove or modify the seven current award entitlements such as public holiday pay, annual leave, penalty rates etc without compensation. The award provisions that relate with your contract will continue unless expressed in the agreement. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet)

If any agreement has been terminated and not renegotiated the employee will automatically fall back to the minimum conditions set by the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. These new laws forbid certain matters from being included in the agreement. The matters have currently not been finalised but may include limitations of the use of independent contractors, or on hire arrangements, providing trade union training leave or bargaining fees and the most upsetting one for the general public is no remedy for unfair dismissal. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws, ACTU Work choices Pamphlet, Industrial relations reform)

Agreements made under the existing system will continue to be in place except that whatever clashes with the legislation will be removed. (Overview of the WorkChoices laws)

Existing federal awards will continue to be in operation, but the award system is going to be concentrated in range and authority in the

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