find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
HR to act on fairness test: Lawyers warn

HR to act on fairness test: Lawyers warn

COMPLIANCE WITH the Federal Government’s recently introduced fairness test will directly affect HR in the workplace agreement process, national law firms have said.The Federal Government…

COMPLIANCE WITH the Federal Government’s recently introduced fairness test will directly affect HR in the workplace agreement process, national law firms have said.

The Federal Government recently amended WorkChoices to ensure that employees who receive less than $75,000 per year on Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) or other workplace agreements will have to be fairly compensated for giving up conditions such as penalty rates, shift allowances, annual leave or overtime.

The change, which took effect on 7 May this year, means employers who are currently using AWAs will need to review each one to ensure compliance with the new rules.

However, the detailed operation of the test won’t be clear until the government publishes draft legislation, which is expected in June, said Julian Clarke, special counsel for employee relations at Freehills.

“It appears that the test will take into account all relevant benefits when assessing whether protected award conditions have been bought out fairly,” he said.

“This could include higher base pay, but is also likely to include items such as incentive arrangements, perks such as car parking or discounted child care and flexible working arrangements.”

It will be obvious from a simple mathematical calculation as to whether or not agreements pass the test most of the time, according to Clarke.

Other times, assessing fairness may be more complicated, particularly where non-monetary benefits such as family flexible policies are taken into account, he said.

However, the fairness test should be more workable than the pre-WorkChoices “no disadvantage test”, Clarke said, because agreements will still operate from lodgement and the newly named Workplace Authority (previously the Office of the Employment Advocate) will offer a pre-lodgement approval process.

Where an employer has an AWA template pre-approved, it should be able to engage new employees on the AWA with some confidence that it will pass the test.

However, this is likely to prolong the bargaining process when it comes to reaching agreements, according to Richard West, head of Minter Ellison’s HR and IR division.

Under the new system, a fairness test by the Workplace Authority will be required. “This may require employers to provide supporting documentation to look at the certain factors such as the industry location, economic circumstances of the business and how it will operate,” West said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

HR to act on fairness test: Lawyers warn
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...