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What you really need to know about Fair Work Australia.
As a business owner or employer, there are certain requirements you must adhere to in order to ensure all employees are treated fairly, without prejudice and are entitled to the appropriate entitlements associated with your industry, including a minimum rate of pay. It is imperative that all employers understand their obligations under Fair Work legislation, as failure to follow specified requirements can result in investigation and even fines.
The umbrella of legislations and agencies that protect and govern the standards of work conditions for all registered businesses include:
Fair Work Act 2009.
At the centre of Australia’s workplace relations is the Commonwealth Parliament’s Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) legislation. As a business owner or employer, you are responsible for treating all your employees fairly and issuing them with the correct entitlements. With this in mind, it is important to be well aware and informed of your requirements and obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009. Under the Act, employee entitlements such as the National Employment Standards (NES), Modern Awards, and Enterprise Agreements are included. Employment contracts cannot take away the minimum entitlements found in the NES and the corresponding Modern Award associated. Find out more about the Modern Awards.
Like any piece of legislation, the Fair Work Act 2009 is a complex and extensive 542 page document that can be difficult for anyone to navigate and ultimately, understand. Justifiably, business owners are often confused by the complex language, yet the cost associated with noncompliance can be significant. Even if you are familiar with the legislation, there are frequent changes you need to be kept up to date on. These include special maternity leave, concurrent parental leave, changes to minimum wage and flexible working arrangements, as well as anti-bullying or harassment measures.
The practical application of the Act and other underlying entitlements in workplaces is overseen by two regulatory agencies: the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman. Together these agencies administer, govern, and cooperate fair work within Australia.
What the Fair Work Commission and Fair Work Ombudsman do.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) is the independent national workplace relations tribunal who has the power to carry out a range of functions relating to workplace matters including the ten minimum conditions set out in the NES, enterprise bargaining, industrial actions, dispute resolution and termination of employment. Their focus is to resolve workplace issues and disputes between employees and employers. An application with the FWC indicates the beginning of a legal process dealing with matters such as unfair dismissals, bullying stop orders, underpayments, disputes under Awards or other agreements formed within the workplace. When an application is made to the FWC, there are fees associated.
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) helps employees, employers, contractors, and the wider workplace community understand their workplace rights and responsibilities by enforcing compliance and adherence to the Fair Work Act within Australia. All FWO services are free and are about providing information, tools, templates and help for individuals to resolve workplace matters. Their goal is to keep workplaces fair through education and mediation.
Why Fair Work in Australia matters.
Going to work is a major part of our lives, so it is important that the relationship between you and your employees is fair and productive. Even if you are familiar with Fair Work regulations, you need to remain up to date as the legislations quite frequently change.
While many workplace incidents occur because employers do not know their obligations, there can sometimes be a degree of uncertainty or confusion surrounding what exact requirements are. As a business owner or employer, you are responsible for ensuring your employees receive their correct entitlements and are treated fairly. This is why it is important you are aware of the Fair Work Act 2009, and understand your rights and obligations.
We understand that running a business is challenging in itself, without the regulatory guidelines outlined. Employsure can take the burden out of navigating complex workplace regulations, ensuring professional advice is at your fingertips and that you are correctly covered under Fair Work legislation in Australia.
For peace of mind, please call our 24-hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415