Fair Work Act – How it’ll impact Employers

In July 2009, the Rudd government introduced the Fair Work Act 2009 (www.fairwork.gov.au) which replaced all previous national workplace relations systems e.g. WorkChoices. The Act has been designed to cover the majority of Australian workplaces whether they’re small or large, corporate organisations.

Some of the key elements affecting business, effective January 2010 have new minimum employment standards that all employers and employees will be covered by. These are called the National Employment Standards (NES). These new standards cover conditions such as an employee’s maximum weekly hours; flexible working arrangements; parental leave (and related entitlements); annual leave; personal/carer’s leave; community service leave; and long service leave just to name a few.

Another change under the Fair Work Act 2009 has been modernisation of awards (Modern Awards). These awards are designed to regulate minimum terms of employment by covering employees through either the industry they work in, or by occupation-based replacing most existing awards.

Qest Human Resources is encouraging all organisations to be active, and is constantly working with its clients to ensure a smooth transition of the Fair Work Act 2009 legislation into their businesses.

Changes to Unfair Dismissal, Unlawful Termination and Termination of Employment in the workplace came into effect in 2009. These laws will allow employees to make unfair dismissal claims dependent upon the size of the organisation and length of service.

All collective bargaining agreements have to pass the BOOT (Better off Overall Test), before being approved by Fair Work Australia. This means that employers need to ‘prove’ that every employee is ‘better off’ with new collective enterprise agreements.

The new Act could only affect a business minimally or it may have significant impact on Human Resources such as changing current policies/procedures and re-training management on what is acceptable under the new legislation.


Amy Arcangeli, Senior HR Advisor, Qest Human Resources

a:  8 Greenhill Road, Wayville  SA  5034

t:   (08) 8372 7817

f:   (08) 8372 7800

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