Clock ticking on agreements

THE cessation of State-based workplace agreements in WA is expected to take effect in September, shortly after the proposed introduction of the Labour Relations Reform Act on August 1.

Employment and Protection Minister John Kobelke announced the time line for the introduction of changes this week.

Before an official deadline for the cessation of new agreements can be announced, the WA Industrial Relations commissioner has to decide on criteria for the ‘no-disadvantage’

test to be applied to Employer-Employee Agreements.

Employment Services and Solutions Australia director Graham Lilleyman said employers should be looking at their options already.

“Once the commissioner announces the repeal of workplace agreements, those agreements signed before March 21 2001 will run for 12 months or until they expire, which-ever comes first. If it was signed after then, it will run for a further six months,” Mr Lilleyman said.

“Once the announcement is made no new agreements will be able to get signed, which will mean any new staff that come in will be on the award.”

In that scenario, workplaces could have some employees bound by agreements working alongside employees working under the award.

Mr Lilleyman said individual business’s best options would depend on their size, corporate structure and staff agreements, but they needed to understand which alternative would suit them the best.

“Every business needs to assess its own situation and decided whether to take up a State-based option, an EEA, EBA, or the award, or the federal system of AWAs or certified agreements,” he said.

Combined Small Business Alliance chief executive officer Oliver Moon said small businesses would be better suited to the federal system.

“Nothing in the legislation encourages small business to stay in the State system,” Mr Moon said.

“The best option as we see it is the AWA or the non-union certified agreement, but if an individual enterprise wishes to enter into bargaining that’s a matter for them to decide.

“Reading the act and the red tape that has to be gone through to have an EEA is very prohibitive. It’s not condusive for small business.

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