FWA Commissioner says there is no requirement to provide paid leave to prepare and participate in bargaining
In this decision, a self-appointed bargaining representative sought bargaining orders against Victoria Police, arguing that because agreement negotiations were scheduled during working hours, he could not attend without being paid and the employer’s refusal to provide paid leave to attend meetings disadvantaged him by preventing him from being able to participate fully in the negotiations. Commissioner Smith dismissed the application. He found that there was no requirement to provide paid leave to bargaining representatives to prepare for, and participate in, bargaining negotiations. While the good faith bargaining requirements required the employer to to take him seriously and give genuine consideration to his proposals, the evidence suggested that it was doing so and there was no evidence that the refusal to provide paid leave to attend meetings was directed to preventing him from attending or participating in the negotiations. Commissioner Smith commented that a bargaining representative acts in a voluntary position and it is up to the individual to decide whether, and to what extent, they will involve themselves in the negotiations.