Workchoices and Forward with Fairness

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The report here presented is an essay which introduces and contrasts between two labor legislations namely the Workchoices and Forward with Fairness industrial relation policies. The report will discuss this statement with specific reference to the existing literature available on these topics.

The primary aim of the assignment is to achieve the following course objectives: • Demonstrate an understanding of the changing labor market context of employment relations. • Critique employment relations in Australia, including the implications of current legislation. • Demonstrate written communication skills through researching and submitting the written assignment. • Develop an understanding of ethical research and enquiry skills, academic norms and integrity.


The "Workplace Relations Act" of year 1996, was amended through the "Workplace Relations Amendment Act" or "WorkChoices", in year 2005 which came into outcome in 2006 in month of March, was a inclusive modification to industrial relations in the continent of Australia.

The changes in WorkChoices were aimed to advance service levels and national monetary performance. The amendment attempted to accomplish this by varying eradicating the "no disadvantage test", "unfair dismissal laws" and making it probable for workers to propose their certified agreements unswervingly to Workplace Authority instead than choosing the process via "Australian Industrial Relations Commission".

Some clauses in WorkChoices were present that made it tougher for employees to strike, made it comfortable for employers or employment providers to persuade their workers to accept personal workplace agreements instead of combined agreements, and interdicting clauses from workplace agreements intended to support any trade union activity.

Groups of Employer like "the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry" and the Business Council of Australia have pointed that they maintain WorkChoices, but above half of those balloted in the year 2007 pointed that they disparate WorkChoices .

John Howard, leader of Australia's previous federal government stated that the monetary success that the country has enjoyed while they year 1996 had happened, in part as of the modifications made to the country's "industrial relations" laws by his Government. The key profits included job growth, low inflation, higher productivity, low interest rates, lower unemployment and higher actual wages.

The prime minister however squabbled that the mission of modification is ongoing in nature and to continue these monetary benefits, additional industrial relations improvements are required. The prime minister stated that existing system remained too composite and technical and that it required to be made extra accessible, flexible and effective.

His government considered 8 key improvements shaped by WorkChoices. These are: • Generalization of the process of "agreement making" at the workplace. • Improved process for creating "minimum wages and conditions", comprising the founding of the new "Australian Fair Pay Commission". • Providing award protection for workers not enclosed by agreements • Enshrining guaranteed lowest circumstances in legislation for the very first time • Introduction of a nationwide system of workplace relations. • Establishment of the standard called "Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard" in order to safeguard employees in the negotiating process. • Achieving a improved equilibrium in unfair dismissal laws • Ensuring an continuing job to "Australian Industrial Relations Commission"

Few issues or say points were excluded from the WorkChoice reform which included: • Not abolish awards • Not abolish the AIRC. • Not take form the employees the power to go on strike • Not cut least and award categorization wages • Not take away the right to connect a union • Not proscribe union agreements


The idea following WorkChoices was to moving to a 'individualise employment relations" and therefore marginalize industrial tribunals and trade unions (Source: Belnave et al., forthcoming, p. 5)


Earlier to WorkChoices, AWAs needed to approve the NDT or say the No Disadvantage Test earlier than they could be accepted. The No Disadvantage Test was designed to make sure that personage conditions of service could be inferior to the relevant award, but generally an agreement cannot decrease award principles (this was previously included beneath the [WRA] 1996 incorporated 20 permissible matters' (Source: Belnave et al. forthcoming, p. 5).

Following WorkChoices there was a phase of time when there was absence of any safety grid (such as Fairness Test or the NDT) for employees to make sure that they weren't inferior off.

Nevertheless, public outcry caused the administration to reintroduce a protection grid measure, of kinds, recognized as the "Fairness Test" (The test was launched via "Workplace Relations Amendment (A Stronger Safety Net) Bill" in the year 2007"). The primary reason of the Bill was the prologue of the "Fairness Test" to make sure that workplace agreements offered fair recompense in swap for protected circumstances that were operated away (Source: Belnave et al. forthcoming, p. 10).


The Fair Pay Commission's function was to set up and regulate lowest pay and conditions via the "(AFPCS) or Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard". State and Federal awards and person and communal workplace agreements set up the accurate pay and conditions of single employees (which is in the situation of individual agreements) or collections of workers (which is in the case of collective agreements and awards) under this situation (Source: Cole 2007, p. 76).


• A shift towards a unitary nationalized system of workplace relations • Simplification of workplace concurrence processes • A additional reduction in the center purposes of the AIRC, counting its role in least wage determination and argument resolution • Reduction in the permissible matters allowed in awards • Replacement of the so called "No Disadvantage Test" from a 5 minimum standards • Alteration of disagreement resolution processes and rules • Reduction of revelation to unjust dismissal laws • Tapering of the union right of entrance regime.


After winning the November 2007 election, Labor party introduced its "Forward with Fairness Policy" along with its implementation map. The latter comprised transitional arrangements, which was successively introduced in the assembly by the Government of Rudd Labor in 2008.

The changes proposed came into result on March 28th 2008, with the inauguration of the so called "Workplace Relations Amendment- a Transition to Forward with Fairness Act 2008". This Transition Act has initiated the process of removing out the earlier administration's industrial relations laws by establishing alterations to the earlier Workplace Relations.

Act of year 1996 (Cwlth) comprising measures to: • Check the making of fresh AWAs • Allow companies currently employing AWAs to propose Individual Transitional Employment • Initiate a fresh no-disadvantage test for communal agreements and ITEAs • Allow the AIRC to assume the process of award modernization. • Agreements for the transition period or (ITEAs) (Source: Belnave et al. forthcoming, p. 11)


The elimination of AWAs was a crucial principle of Labor party's commitments and was the middle reason of the Transition Act on 2007. The Act forbids the making of fresh AWAs from the time of its inauguration.


The Transition Act has crafted a fresh industrial instrument named an ITEA to offer employers currently employing AWAs with time to switch to the new system.


A new NDT for all ITEAs was introduced by The Transition along with collective workplace agreements prepared after the inauguration of the legislation. This new test reinstates the Fairness Test. To surpass the fresh NDT, ITEAs must not drawback an employee comparative to the relevant award (where the collective agreement is absent) or collective agreement along with the AFPCS.


The Transition Act of 2007 terminated the award rationalization process launched by WorkChoices as, according to Labor party, it had failed to improve country's award system.

In its place the Transition Act has facilitated the AIRC to begin and assume a process of award modernization. When modernizing awards the AIRC will keep an eye in direction of reducing the quantity of awards operating in the country. The modernized awards will enclose ten matters and supply industry related detail regarding the National Employment Standards (NES). The ten matters comprise: • Penalty rates • The type of labor performed • Overtime rates • Minimum wages • Arrangements for when labor is performed • Annualized wage or salary planning • Superannuation • Allowances (including repayment of expenses acquired in the course of service) • Leaves, the arrangements for taking leave and leave loadings • Measures for consultation, dispute settlement and representation. (Source: Belnave et al. forthcoming pp. 13-14)


It incorporates 10 matters or issues stated below: • Annual leave • Utmost weekly hours of labor • Public holidays • Requirements for elastic working arrangements • Long service disappear • Parental leave (and correlated entitlements) • Community service leave • Compassionate and personal leave • "The Fair Work Information" declaration • Notice of redundancy and termination


The planned safety net that will strengthen employment and the prospect collective bargaining system beneath the forward and fairness set will includes: • The 10 lowest employment principles incorporated in awards. • The 10 legislated NES


Forwards with fairness proposed reforms engage the formation of a 'new self-governing umpire' to supervise the whole workplace relations scheme named as "Fair Work Australia". This authority will presume the present responsibilities of the subsequent authoritarian bodies: • "Australian Fair Pay Commission" • "Workplace Ombudsman" (formerly known as the Office of Workplace Services) • "Office of the country's Construction and Building Commissioner" • "AIRC: Australian Industrial Relations Commission" • "Workplace Authority" (previously known as the Office of the Employment Advocate)


It brings the following changes in previous arrangement: • An worker who is employed by a company which employs less than 15 workers must have been in employment for at least 12 months • An worker who is employed by a company which employs 15 or further people must have been in employment for 6 months • If the worker is not enclosed by an award, the worker must be earning yearly remuneration of fewer than $98 200.


Under Forwards with fairness, the workers are allowed to work for 38 hours for a full time employee.


• It allowed a separate 12 month but nonpaid leave in case of a baby birth. • If only one parent opt for leave, the leave can be extended to 24 months but the additional 12 month leave can be refused by the company.


Parent can ask for more flexible work arrangements but the request can be turned down by the employer.


Full time employees can opt for 4 weeks paid leave per year.


This includes a 10 days paid leave for all permanent employees.


This provides an optional leave request for any community service activity


There are around 10 public holidays on which a employer need to pay penalty.


A fair work information statement is a must to provide to the employees.


The following schedule is to be followed for employment termination: • Span of continuous service • Least period of notice • Less than a year A week • Between a year and 3 2 week • Between three to five years 3 week • More than 5 years 4 week


Unions are allowed by labors and are considered to be essential as a democratic right.


  • • Cole, k.. 2007 .Workplace relations in Australia: a practical guide to Workchoices. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia • Balnave, N. 2009. Employment relations in Australia. Sydney: John Wiley & Sons Australia • Smith, Damien J..1987. The guide to employment law in Australia. Melbourne: Information Australia • Smith, Graham Floyd. . Public employment law: the role of the contract of employment in Australia and Britain. Sydney: Butterworths • Nygh, Peter E.. 1971. Conflict of laws in Australia. California: Butterworths • Taylor, Ewan M.. 1990. A guide to employment law and practice in Australia. Sydney: Information Australia