Surge in general protection claims: FWC report


Surge in general protection claims: FWC report

The FWC's newly-released annual report reveals a significant shift towards individual dispute resolution, with general protection applications up 17.5% in 2014-15.


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The FWC's newly-released annual report reveals a significant shift from traditional collective dispute resolution work to individual dispute resolution.

Applications from individuals under the general protections provisions of the Fair Work Act increased by 17.5 per cent in 2014–15, accounting for 9.9 per cent of all applications made. The number of general protections claims involving dismissal climbed from 2879 in 2013-14 to 3382 in 2014-15. 

Consistent with previous years, the greatest number of applications made to the commission are
for an unfair dismissal remedy, which account for 42.8 per cent of all applications. This year showed
a slight decline of 1.2 per cent in the number of unfair dismissal applications received. 

Application trends

The commission’s overall case load for 2014–15 decreased by 7.9 per cent. This decrease in
applications was largely a result of a significant decrease in the number of applications made to
terminate individual agreement-based transitional instruments, which fell by 73 per cent to 767 applications from 2841 in 2013–14.

The number of applications for the approval of enterprise agreements fell by 12.3 per cent, with 832 fewer applications made.

Applications to deal with disputes under agreements or awards fell by 13.6 per cent in 2014–15
compared with the previous year, while applications for the commission to deal with bargaining
disputes increased slightly, by 12.8 per cent on the previous year, to 476 applications.

Applications relating to industrial action continue to decline with 3.4 per cent fewer applications made in 2014–15 compared with the previous year, and 32.6 per cent fewer applications than those made in 2011–12.

There was also an increase in the lodgment of appeal applications made in 2014–15. Three hundred and thirty-six applications were made compared with 214 in the previous year.

Facts and figures

The report also provided details on its operations and how people accessed services:
  • 3,766,398 website visits
  • 1,743,653 unique visits
  • 207,749 telephone calls received
  • 120,535 unfair dismissal eligibility quiz views
  • 48,242 anti-bullying eligibility quiz views
  • 26,158 general protections eligibility quiz views
  • 34,152 applications received
  • 19,922 hearings and conferences held
  • 12,440 decisions and orders published
  • 28 days median time taken from lodging applications to finalising conciliations in unfair dismissal matters
  • 49.6% of agreement applications finalised within 21 days of lodgment

Major achievements in 2014-15

The report outlines a number of major achievements in 2014–15, including:
  • introducing a pilot program for the assessment of enterprise agreements designed to reduce the time between lodgment and decision
  • introducing a general protections pilot program designed to deal with these matters in a more timely manner as well as improve client satisfaction and settlement rates
  • introducing a pilot program to explore efficiencies for parties in seeking permission to appeal
  • completing the Australian Workplace Relations Study (AWRS) which generated the first Australia-wide statistical data set linking employee data with data from their employer since1995. The Commission then hosted a three-day conference and workshop for a range of stakeholders to showcase how the AWRS data could be used.
  • completing ‘citizen co-design’ research with small business owners into the usability of modern award documents to support the 4 yearly review of the modern awards
  • achieving, for the first time, 100 per cent voluntary compliance with the lodgment of registered organisations’ annual returns on time
View the full report here. 

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