Workplace agreements coming to end

Workplace agreements coming to end

THE last of the State workplace agreements are due to come to an end on September 14.

Most employers have already adjusted their employment strategies accordingly.

For those who have not, the spectre of possible award breaches makes it imperative that they now do so.

Many of our clients have now moved to Federal forms of employment agreements such as Australian Workplace Agreements and certified agreements.

These are relatively easy to implement, although there have been some delays in registration due to the volume of agreements being registered and the need to comply with the "no disadvantage test".

Those employers who use unregistered of "common law" contracts of employment in place of State workplace agreements must ensure those agreements comply with relevant awards and laws.

For some clients, such as those with a strong State-based union presence in their workplace, Federal agreements have not been a viable option.

These employers are left to grapple with unwieldy and archaic State awards that do not meet their operational needs.

The pressure is now on for outdated awards to be modernised.

Some unions have taken up the challenge but, in the process, have also sought to significantly expand the scope of common rule awards into industries and occupations not previously the subject of any award coverage.

An increase in industrial disputation and demarcation can be expected if unions seek to extend the operation of their common rule awards beyond purely modernisation objectives.

Employers should carefully monitor changes to awards covering their workplace and be wary of the potential for overlapping coverage caused by unions seeking to cover new industries.

Kathy Reid, associate

9429 7695

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