What’s New in 2013?

Following last year’s review of the Fair Work Act, the following changes to the Act commenced operating on 1 January 2013.

What’s New in 2013?

Following last year’s review of the Fair Work Act, the following changes to the Act commenced operating on 1 January  2013.

Time for lodging Unfair Dismissal and General Protections applications rationalised

  • Previously there was a 14 day time limit to file an Unfair Dismissal Application and 60 day time limit for a General Protections/Adverse Action Application.
  • The time limit for both is now 21 days.
  • Transitional arrangements apply so an employee dismissed prior to 1 January 2013 will still have 14 days to file for Unfair Dismissal and 60 days for a General Protections claim.

Fair Work Australia now Fair Work Commission

  • Fair Work Australia has been renamed the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
  • The Commission has a new website at www.fwc.gov.au.

FWC Powers

  • As a result of submissions by employers relating to unwarranted unfair dismissal claims, the FWC has been given wider power to dismiss unfair dismissal applications, grant stay orders and to award costs against parties, lawyers and paid agents.
  • However the circumstances in which cost orders can be made in this jurisdiction are still quite limited.

Enterprise Agreements

  • Enterprise agreements cannot be made with a single employee.
  • A union official can only act as a bargaining representative for an employee if the union has coverage to represent that employee (previously there were attempts by union officials to act in their personal capacity to get around the Act).
  • Opt out clauses for employees within enterprise agreements are prohibited. This was the subject of considerable litigation in 2012.
  • Employers cannot modify the notice required to inform employees of their right to representation in enterprise bargaining.

Other Legislative Changes

The Dad and Partner Pay provisions of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) came into effect on 1 January 2013. The eligible partner of the primary care-giver of a child born after 1 January 2013 is now entitled to two weeks’ leave paid at the federal minimum wage.

Please feel free to contact us for further information or assistance:

Hugh Chalmers
(02) 6279 4451
hugh.chalmers@meyervandenberg.com.au

Deb Mackenzie
(02) 6279 4441
deborah.mackenzie@meyervandenberg.com.au