The Fair Work Act Australia - Are You Ready?
The Fair Work Act Australia - Are You Ready?
The Fair Work Act Australia - Are You Ready?

The Fair Work Act Australia - Are You Ready?

The Fair Work Act commences on 1 July 2009 and has sweeping changes that dramatically alters the landscape of employee relations as we know it.

A second tranche of requirements begins 1 January 2010 with the introduction of the new Awards Modernisation.

There are increased entitlements to employees and obligations that business must comply with.

This is a bullet point overview of the legislation which is not comprehensive and you are urged to take advice for your own particular circumstances.

1. Fair Work Act starts 1 July 2009;
2. Contains 10 National Employment Standards (NES);
3. Modern Award System;
4. Legislation contains far reaching changes for every small business;
5. Further Changes 1 January 2010.


1. Hours of Work


  • 38 ordinary hours of work; Awards and agreements may allow for averaging of hours; plus  Reasonable additional hours.


2. Annual Leave


  • 4 weeks (20 days) per year plus an extra week for shiftworkers;
  • Proportional (pro-rata leave) for part-time employees.


3. Personal/Carers Leave

  • Full-time/Part-time employees 10 days paid personal carers leave per year and 2 days paid compassionate leave per occasion.
  •  Casuals 2 days unpaid personal carer's leave.


4. Community Service Leave

  • 10 days unpaid leave for eligible community service.


5. Parental Leave (1 January 2010)

  • Both parents entitled to separate periods of up to 12 months unpaid parental leave;
  •  One parent can apply for an additional 12 months leave (24 months leave in total) that can only be refused on reasonable business grounds.


6. Long Service Leave (no changes)

7. Right to request flexible working arrangements

  • Parents with responsibility for a child under school age may request a change in working arrangements to assist with the care of the child,
  • The employer may refuse the request only on reasonable grounds.
  • The Employers decision will not be subject to review (yet).


8. Public Holidays

  • Employees are entitled to a day off on public holidays;
  • Employer may make a reasonable request for the employee to work;
  • The payment of penalty rates is derived from awards;
  • There will be further changes to penalty rates in the award modernisation process that begins 1 January 2010.


9. Fair Work Information Statement

  • An employer must provide a Fair Work Australia Information Statement to all new employees on commencement of employment with the employer;
  • Starts 1 January 2010;
  • Fair Work Information Statement has yet to be written.
  • No requirement for existing employees


10. Termination of Employment

  • Notice periods by the employer remain unchanged and must be in writing;
  • A Fair Dismissal Code has been introduced that is the accepted guideline for employers to comply with;
  • Exclusion for unfair dismissal reduced from 100 to 15 employees;
  • Remedy for unfair dismissal emphasis on reinstatement rather than compensation.



1. Operational reasons must be genuine such as;

  1.  Job no longer required to be performed by anyone;
  2.  The employer has complied with the consultation requirements;
  3.  It was not reasonable in all the circumstances to redeploy the employee within the entity or an associated entity of the employer.
  4. Can be investigated to see if the redundancy was genuine;
  5. If an employee was dismissed for performance reasons there must be an audit trail demonstrating that the process was managed within accepted guidelines and the law.
  6. One warning is enough however you must have proof and an audit trail;
  7. Important to diaries all employee discipline and performance matters.


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