Fair Work Week to mark start of new IR system

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Fair Work Week to mark start of new IR system

The Federal Government will mark the start of the full operation of its new industrial relations system with a Fair Work Week, 4–8 January.

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The Federal Government will mark the start of the full operation of its new industrial relations system with a Fair Work Week, 4–8 January.
 
FWA begins on 1 January, but 4 January is the first working day under the new IR regime.
 
IR Minister Julia Gillard said Fair Work Week will highlight elements of the new Fair Work system.
 
The new Fair Work system will comprise 10 legislated National Employment Standards and new modern awards.
 
Flexible hours
 
For the first time in Australia, working parents will have the right to request flexible working hours or additional parental leave.
 
Following the passage of legislation in the Senate, from 1 January Australia will finally have a national workplace relations system across the private sector — except in Western Australia.
 
All the other states have referred their IR powers to the Commonwealth, but Western Australia has refused while it assesses its state laws. It is expected that Western Australia will pass some kind of complementary state laws that continue to cover private sector employers not covered by the national laws.
 
In the other states, all private sector employers and employees will be covered by FWA. New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia have kept local government and public service employees in their own systems.
 
Productivity
 
Gillard said that at the heart of the new Fair Work system is enterprise level bargaining to drive productivity.
 
Fair Work requires all employers and employees to negotiate in good faith and prohibits industrial action outside of the bargaining period.
 
The Rudd Government ended the ability to make new AWAs in March 2008. All Individual Transitional Employment Agreements (ITEAs), which could be used in very limited circumstances, will nominally expire on 31 December 2009.
 
Under Fair Work, businesses with fewer than 100 employees will no longer be able to sack employees for no good reason or no reason at all. Fair Work has also removed the so-called ‘operational reasons’ provision.
 
Fair Work gives small businesses 12 months to assess new employees, and larger businesses six months, before an unfair dismissal claim could be made.
 
Gillard said Fair Work Week aims to raise awareness and understanding of the new workplace relations system including new rights, entitlements and obligations at work.
 
Fair Work Online
 
For more information about the new Fair Work system, visit the Fair Work Online website or phone the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
 
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