Fairness test still behind - but catching up

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Fairness test still behind - but catching up

The Workplace Authority is still lagging behind in its processing of AWAs through the fairness test, but says it is catching up.

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The Workplace Authority is still lagging behind in its processing of AWAs through the fairness test, but says it is catching up.

In November 39,073 workplace agreements were lodged but only 31,796 were finalised, meaning the backlog grew by 7,277 to 149,417.

Up and running

The Authority says that while the setting up stage took longer than expected, systems and processes are now up and running.

The new statistics released by the Authority today (Monday) show that during the month 16,415 agreements passed the fairness test.

Another 6,394 passed following changes and 4,867 failed and the agreements then ceased to operate.

A total of 5,855 agreements did not pass and required amendment within 14 days, and 2,616 were returned to the employers with a request for further information.

85% have no need for change

The Authority said about 50,000 agreements in total have passed the fairness test, with around 85% passing without the need for any changes;

It points out that when looking at the data it is important to understand that the fairness test is not an automated tick box exercise.

There are a number of stages and key decision points that are a vital part of applying the fairness test. The fairness test assessors work through the following decision points:

  • Does the fairness test apply - the threshold check determines whether any of the protected award conditions have been changed or removed and if the employee on an AWA earns less than $75,000pa;
  • Has all the relevant information been provided for the fairness test to be applied - if not, the Workplace Authority needs to speak to the employer and/or employee to gather this information; and
  • Does it pass the fairness test - if not, the fairness test assessors need to work out how the agreement can be changed to meet the requirements of the fairness test.

The Authority says the number of both AWAs and collective agreements lodged in November is higher than the previous month, but this is consistent with the same time last year and is likely to be a reflection of the business cycle.

As with previous reports some agreements will be counted in more than one field, for example some agreements will be counted in the ‘do not pass’ fields and subsequently be counted in the ‘passed following change’ or ‘failed - agreement ceased to operate’ fields.

Processing times improving

The Workplace Authority has found that processing times are also improving because employers are meeting their responsibilities by responding quickly.

The majority of agreements assessed as requiring change within 14 days are changed by the employer, and subsequently pass the fairness test.


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