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Australia's new workplace relations system

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On 1 January 2010, the new National Employment Standards (NES) replaced the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. The NES, along with the new Modern Awards, which applied from the same date, were created to provide a safety-net for Australian employees. The Act provides for minimum terms and conditions from the most junior employee to senior managers.

The NES sets out 10 minimum standards of employment.

  • Maximum weekly hours of work
  • Requests for flexible working arrangements
  • Parental leave and related entitlements
  • Annual leave
  • Personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Notice of termination and redundancy pay
  • Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement

These standards apply to all full-time and part-time employees. They apply selectively to casual employees depending on their length of service.

The NES works in conjunction with the new industry or occupation-based Modern Awards, created by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The legally enforceable Modern Awards will replace existing state awards. A number of Modern Awards include a staggered schedule, allowing changes in wages, loadings, penalty rates, and shift allowances to be phased in over a period of five years commencing 1 July 2010.

It is important to comply with the new National Employment Standards, and to prepare for the phasing in of Modern Awards from 1 July 2010.

Bongiorno & Partners have established referrals with a number of specialists in this complex area. Please contact your adviser for further information and details.

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