(b) The enactment of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).The Fair Work Act 2009 is the main legislation, which governs the workplaces in Australia. TheFair Work Act provides the foundation for all the regulations and standards related withemployment. Therefore, it is significant for the employers in all industries and all business sizesto be familiar with this key piece of legislation. The rows or obligations that have beenmentioned in the Fair Work Act for employees and employers are known as the nationalworkplace relations system (Gostencnik, 2009). This system has been introduced the bill toprovide a balanced framework related with productive workplace relations so that nationaleconomic prosperity can be promoting and the social inclusion for all Australians can beensured. Hence, this means that this legislation has been introduced for the good of all and thereare no subjective or biased perspectives presented in this legislation.Fair Work Act (Cth) was introduced in 2009 by the Labor government. This legislation replacethe earlier work choices legislation, which was quite unpopular. Therefore the main aim ofintroducing the Act was to improve the lives of the employees at workplaces in Australia. Thiswas the reason that it was delayed by a number of Australians that the employers have too muchpower as compared to the employees due to bridge the employees were forced to agree toworking hours and images that were not up to their expectations. It was claimed that the earlierlegislation, before the implementation of the Fair Work Act undermines the rights of the workersand they had considerably less control over their own workplace choices and the earlierlegislation also allowed unfair dismissals by the end was to go unchecked. One of the moresignificant changes introduced by the new Act was the right to organize provided to theemployees (Catanzariti and Shariff, 2005). The earlier legislation has the provisions regarding
union interaction at the workplace. Similarly, it was also discouraged by the employers and theindustrial relations law. On the other hand, the Fair Work Act not only supports the involvementof the Union but it also encourages it in two ways. The first is in the form of enterpriseagreements, and the other is the right to organize. Therefore, now the employees are allowed tobring union representatives at the workplace and talk to them during their break, although anotice has to be given a full 24 hours. This has been hailed as a significant improvement andexpected to have a positive impact on participation by the union, although there are certain issuesthat still need to be resolved in this context.Another major change, introduced by this legislation is the right to collective bargaining. It issaid that this writer has a major impact on the employees at the Australian workplaces. This Acthas returned a number of rights that were taken away by the Work Choices Act in 2006. Some ofthese rights included the new Award safety net , as well as the Fair Work Australia (for thepurpose of ensuring that the rights of employees are protected) and the right of low-paid workersto bargain collectively. The result of the introduction of all these changes is that there has been adecrease in the number of working days that are lost in industrial disputes. Hence it can be saidthat the Act had a positive impact on the employers when it comes to respecting the rights of theemployees (Ford, 2000). Employee Workplace Protections: The protections provided to the Australian employees werestrengthened considerably as a result of the implementation of this Act. The main areas wherethis impact can be seen are the increase in minimum wage, protection against unfair dismissaland protection from unfair changes as well as the elimination of unfair individual contracts. Theprotection provided to the employees against unfair dismissal can be described as a major area ofimpact, particularly when it is compared to the unbalanced dismissal laws that were present in
the Work Choices Act. As a result of the new regulations, protection has been provided to allemployees who are in employment for more than 12 months, against unfair dismissal. It had amajor impact in ensuring the prevention of unfair dismissal faced by the elderly, female ordisabled employees on very unjust grounds (Cooney, 2006). After the implementation of thisAct, now the employees can make a claim for unfair dismissal in such cases. Moreover, it istreated as conversation and has significant impact on the protections provided to the employeeswho have to deal with unlawful unfair dismissal. An example that can be given in this regard isthat of Barclay v Board of Bendigo Regional Institute of Technical and Further Education (2011)FCAFC. The brief facts of this case are that Barclay, an employee of the Board, was also amember of Australian Education Union. He took action for the Union who had contacted himregarding their questions concerning the upcoming audit and fraudulent documents. In responseto his questions, the CEO sends an e-mail to all of the employees and warned them againsttalking to Barclay. Moreover, he was suspended from employment and coming to work and hisaccess to Internet was also cut. The court ruled that all this amounted to adverse action. Thereason was that Barclay was acting as an official of the Union at the time. He was involved inindustrial action. When he was suspended and cut off from Internet. This was the first case thatwas ruled under the new Act by the High Court. This decision also reveals the complete extent ofthe protections provided to the employees by the new legislation and also the support providedby it to the union members. Another important change that is the result of this Act, and that has an impact on the protectionsprovided at the workplace in Australia was the abolition of AWA and introducing enterpriseagreements as well as good-faith bargaining. Good faith bargaining had much positive impact onthe workforce of Australia regarding adaptability and flexibility and also in terms of the claims
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