How is Fair Work Act review proceeding?


How is Fair Work Act review proceeding?

The Fair Work Act is undergoing a review in 2012. Those interested can keep track of submissions through a dedicated website.


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The Fair Work Act 2009 is undergoing a review in 2012. Those interested can keep track of submissions through a dedicated website.

The site includes the text of submissions to the Review Panel.

On 18 January 2012, the Fair Work Act Review Panel released a background paper and announced the timing for the review’s submission process.

The background paper, which can be downloaded below, provides general information on the review and the Act, details of the submission process, relevant evidence sources and questions that stakeholders may wish to consider when developing their submissions. The questions are not intended to be exhaustive and stakeholders are free to address other issues raised by the review’s terms of reference.

Written submissions to the Review Panel are due by 17 February 2012. Supplementary submissions, including comments on the submissions of other participants, are due by 2 March 2012.

Submissions should be concise and it is essential that contentions and propositions in submissions are supported by evidence.
Unless individuals or organisations making a submission seek confidentiality, all submissions will be posted on the Submissions page of the review’s website. 

Submissions should be delivered in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats by email.

The Federal Government made a commitment in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Fair Work Bill 2008 to review the operation of the legislation two years after its full commencement (ie 1 January 2012).

On 20 December 2011, Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations announced further detail of the review, including terms of reference.

The review is being conducted by Reserve Bank Board Member Dr John Edwards, former Federal Court Judge, the Honourable Michael Moore and noted legal and workplace relations academic Professor Emeritus Ron McCallum AO.
Submissions will be published after they are received.
Submissions received 
Where individuals or organisations making a submission have requested that their submission or part of their submission remain confidential, those submissions, or parts of submissions will not be published.  

As an example, here are some extracts from a submission on the site:  
‘Graham Smith — adjunct professor in the School of Law at Victoria University  
This is a private submission to the Fair Work Act Review Panel (Review Panel) solely in my capacity as an adjunct professor in the School of Law at Victoria University …  
In my opinion the Fair Work Act (FW Act) has largely met its objectives and does not need significant change.  
… However, I am concerned that most large employers in Australia no longer seek to utilise enterprise bargaining under the FW Act framework to achieve significant changes to improve workplace flexibility and productivity (unlike during the 1990s and the early part of this Century).  
... Employers had hoped to improve productivity and flexibility through the use of individual flexibility agreements (IFAs) under the FW Act, but this has not eventuated in my view.  
… My impression (based on some empirical analysis done for clients) is that in union negotiated enterprise agreements the IFA clauses leave very little room for individual flexibility.   
… A major impediment to the effectiveness of IFAs is that once made they are easily terminated by the employee. Under Section 203(6) of the FW Act an IFA can be terminated by the employee giving up to 28 days notice.
… My recommendation to the Review Panel is that the model IFA clause should be mandatory in enterprise agreements and should not be negotiable …’

Source: WorkplaceInfo editorial team.
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