Dispute resolution procedure training — in modern awards

Analysis

Dispute resolution procedure training — in modern awards

This article is a summary of the conditions normally contained in a modern award that relate to ‘dispute resolution procedure training leave’.

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This article is a summary of the conditions normally contained in a modern award that relate to ‘dispute resolution procedure training leave’.
 
Some modern awards provide an entitlement for certain employees to take paid leave of absence from their employment for the purposes of undergoing dispute resolution procedure training. 
 
Section 146 of the Fair Work Act 2009 provides that a modern award must contain a term that provides a procedure for settling disputes about matters arising from the award or the National Employment Standards (NES). 
 
While dispute resolution procedure training leave is not a mandatory term in a modern award, the (then) Australian Industrial Relations Commission determined in its initial Award Modernisation decision that such leave would be included in a modern award where it was a prevailing industry standard. 
 
The following is a summary of the conditions normally contained in a modern award that relate to ‘dispute resolution procedure training leave’.
 
Consultation and dispute resolution — modern award provisions
 
An entitlement to paid dispute resolution training leave is usually provided in conjunction with the ‘consultation and dispute resolution’ provisions of a modern award. This clause usually covers the following:
  • ‘facilitative provisions’ — a provision in the award that allows certain provisions in the award to be varies, by agreement between the employer and/or the majority of employees in the workplace or an individual employee
  • consultation regarding major workplace change — this relates to where the employer has made a definite decision to introduce major changes in production, program, organisation, structure or technology that will have significant effects on employees, which may result in redundancies, and the employer must notify the employees who may be affected by the proposed changes and their representatives (eg union delegate where relevant)
  • the procedure to be undertaken where there is a dispute in relation to matter arising under the award, or a dispute in relation to the NES
  • an entitlement to paid dispute resolution procedure training leave for an ‘eligible employee representative’.
 
Dispute resolution training leave — standard provision
 
This paid training leave only applies to certain eligible employees in the employer’s workplace or enterprise.
Example:
 
The Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010 provides the following conditions with respect to paid dispute resolution procedure training leave:
 
Only an ‘eligible employee representative’ is entitled to be absent on paid dispute resolution procedure training leave. This term is normally defined to mean an employee who is a shop steward, a delegate, or an employee representative duly elected or appointed by the employees in an enterprise or workplace, and who is within the class and number of employee representatives entitled from year to year to take this leave according to the following quota table:
5–15 employees in a workplace/enterprise — maximum of 1 eligible employee representative entitled per year
 
16–30 employees in a workplace/enterprise — maximum of 2 eligible employee representatives entitled per year
 
31–50 employees in a workplace/enterprise — maximum of 3 eligible employee representatives entitled per year
 
51–90 employees in a workplace/enterprise — maximum of 4 eligible employee representatives entitled per year
 
More than 90 employees in a workplace/enterprise — maximum of 5 eligible employee representatives entitled per year

For the purpose of applying the quota table, employees employed by the employer in an enterprise or workplace are full-time and part-time employees, and casual employees with six months or more service, covered by the award who are employed by the employer.

 
Where the number of eligible employee representatives exceeds the quota at any particular time, priority of entitlement for the relevant year must be resolved by agreement between those entitled or, if not agreed, be given to the more senior of the employee representatives otherwise eligible who seeks leave.
 
Modern awards — paid dispute procedure training leave provisions
 
The following are significant modern awards that contain a provision for paid dispute resolution procedure training leave:
  • Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010
  • Cleaning Services Award 2010
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010
  • Timber Industry Award 2010
  • Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010
 
The following are significant modern awards that do not contain a provision for paid dispute resolution procedure training leave:
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award 2010
  • Clerks — Private Sector Award 2010
  • Commercial Sales Award 2010
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010
  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award 2010
 
Modern awards may be accessed online.
 
Source: Paul Munro, IR Consultant.
 
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