IR Alert

Major Changes to the Fair Work Act become law.

The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) was passed by Parliament last night.

These changes are the most significant changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) since its introduction and will have an impact on all employers in the national system. Members need to be aware of the new legislation and the implications that the changes will have on their business. The Bill will see the following amendments introduced into the Act:

– Anti-Bullying provisions will be inserted into the Act for the first time.

These provisions will have a significant impact on all employers. The amendments will enable employees to make a claim to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to stop or  intervene in matters where an employeeclaims they are being bullied in the workplace. The FWC will be able to issue orders to stop the bullying. Civil penalties will apply to both the individual accused of bullying and the employer if orders made by the FWC are contravened. This change will take effect from 1 January 2014.

– Right of Entry provisionswill be expanded so that:

• lunchrooms will now become the default meeting place in a workplace when a union does not agree with the nominated room to hold discussions by the  employer; and

• occupiers of remote or isolated workplaces will be required to provide transport to the union official to reach the site and accommodation, on or near the site if they are unable to return the same day. There is no cap on the potential cost incurred to the employer.

 This change will take effect from 1 January 2014. 

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