BEWARE: new IR law sweeps in

Major changes to the laws governing the employer/employee relationship, which started January 1, mean 2010 promises to be a challenging one for employers.

Major changes to the laws governing the employer/employee relationship, which started January 1, mean 2010 promises to be a challenging one for employers.

Key elements for employers are new flexible work arrangements; national employment standards (NES); fair work information statements and a greatly reduced number of Awards.

The NES is a listing of new enforceable minimum employment terms and conditions. The Standards’ ten minimum work entitlements govern the new employment contract between employer and employee.

This is more fully set down in the new Fair Work Act 2009. They comprise essentially ten minimum standards of the employment contract.

These relate to for example: minimum weekly hours; various leave entitlements; a flexible work arrangement; termination and redundancy payments. A contravention of the NES may lead to a penalty of up to $6600 or more.

The Fair Work Information Statement comprises a document that every employer must provide to each new employee as soon as possible after commencing work for completion. It covers the agreed arrangement in relation to the ten employee entitlements. Note: casual employees attract some exclusions.

The former very lengthy list of industrial awards has been considerably curtailed. However, there are transitional arrangements regarding the introduction of some of the changes-over time.

Employees earning a guaranteed salary of more than $108, 000 annually, do not come under the awards system – though they are still governed by the requirements of the NES.

Regarding termination of employment, this may come about as a result of – redundancy, resignation and dismissal. The Act states the dismissal – may not be -“harsh, unjust or unreasonable”.

Another important key element is flexible work arrangements. The new model must include a flexible term.

The idea being this requirement will allow both parties to agree together on an individual flexible arrangement called an IFA – regarding hours of work.

For further information in respect of all of the above see www.business.gov.au