Fair Work Act
Australia’s new national workplace relations system, Fair Work, officially came into effect for employers and employees across Australia from 1 July 2009. The Fair Work Act 2009 replaced the Workplace Relations Act 1996 and restored many of the rights taken away under WorkChoices.
As of 1 January 2010 all employees, except those employed by the Queensland Government and local government authorities, are covered by Fair Work. This means sole traders and partnerships are now also covered by Fair Work, although the Modern Awards will not apply to them until 2011.
Fair Work comprises the new national tribunal Fair Work Commission, the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Fair Work Federal Divisions of the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Court.
The Fair Work laws took full effect on 1 January 2010 as a new safety net of minimum employment conditions called the National Employment Standards and Modern Awards were put into place. The Modern Award applicable to most nurses in Australia is the Nurses Award 2010.
The National Employment Standards (NES)
The National Employment Standards apply to all employees under Fair Work. Together with Modern Awards and minimum wage orders, the NES makes up the safety net that cannot be altered to the disadvantage of employees.The 10 National Employment Standards are:
- 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
For more information on the NES please click here.
To download a copy of the NES please click here.
The new Nurses Award 2010
Nearly all nursing employees in the national workplace relations system are covered by the Nurses Award 2010, which came into operation 1 January 2010. There are a few exceptions. For example, nurses who work in secondary schools are covered by the Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award 2010.
If you're not covered by a collective agreement (also known as an enterprise agreement or certified agreement), AWA or ITEA then the Nurses Award 2010 will apply to you.
For more information on rates of pay applicable please refer to the relevant section of the 'Your entitlements' page.
For the latest information on the Fair Work Act please refer to the news items below.
The QNU has taken decisive action to protect the wages of aged care nurses covered by the Nurses Award 2010 (the modern award) before employers make any attempt to reduce their pay rates later this year.
New Year’s Day marked the start of a new chapter in our country’s industrial relations history with the introduction of the remainder of our new national workplace relations system, including the National Employment Standards and modern awards.
Last month marked two years since the Rudd government swept into power – thanks in large part to their commitment to do away with John Howard’s draconian WorkChoices laws.
True to their promise, the federal government has provided Australian workers with a balanced set of laws which are underpinned by a safety net of minimum wages and conditions.
Following a successful campaign by QNU and ANF members across the country, nurses and midwives will gain a new occupational nurses’ award when the new award structure for the Australian workforce commences next year.
Many QNU members have gained significantly advanced rights and opportunities in their workplaces under the new Fair Work Act. The challenge now is to ensure these new-found rights are upheld, writes QNU Industrial Officer Steve Ross.
Proposed amendments from non-government politicians that were initially passed by the Senate late on the Thursday night were ‘not insisted upon’ the following afternoon (and so do not form part of the legislation).
After the Your Rights at Work campaign which led to the defeat of the Howard government at the 2007 federal election, the long promised legislation to do away with the draconian WorkChoices and replace it with a balanced and fair set of laws has finally been introduced into Parliament.
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