Some employers who have their own enterprise agreement (EA) make the mistake of pretty much ignoring what is going on in modern awards. They reason modern awards provide bare minimum standards whereas their EA provides superior conditions, often considerably so. This tends to encourage ambivalence about what’s going on in the modern award space.
When an employer was making some employees redundant, it worked with another business to obtain offers of employment for those employees. As a result of those efforts, some of the redundant employees were offered employment with that other firm.
During the life of their employment an employee can become attached to the job they are performing. This can lead to an employee believing the details of that job are one and the same as their employment contract. Consequently they form the view that any changes to those duties or details can only occur with mutual agreement.
But almost universally, the tasks or duties identified on recruitment or thereafter are not implied terms of the contracts of employment such that a change of duties required by the employer is a repudiation. This fundamental aspect of the employment relationship led an employee into error when she claimed constructive dismissal.
Many employers eschew bargaining, content to follow their old agreements. The recent federal Attorney-General’s Dept report on the state of bargaining bears this out with a continued decline in the number of new agreements approved.
Even though legislative and regulatory efforts to protect from sexual harassment have been around for decades, the mechanisms to deal with it have not always been the most efficacious. But that maybe about to change with the FWC gaining additional powers to deal with sexual harassment complaints specifically.
Many employers breathed a sigh of relief that the complicated Workpac case about a casual has been resolved by the High Court, which found the employee was casual and not entitled to annual and other leave as claimed.
Responding to the IR Minister’s request of late last year, the FWC has introduced certain flexibilities into the Retail award and is about to do the same to the Restaurants award. While the request and the reaction to it arose because of the pandemic, the flexibilities themselves make sense regardless of current circumstances and have been a feature of enterprise agreements for the past 25 years.
What to do with an agreement with generous conditions when your competitors keep beating you on all your tenders? This problem faced a company that found earlier largesse was coming back to bite as more players entered their patch, leaving them behind.
Ross Clarke has more than a decade’s experience in the enterprise bargaining room.
The knowledge and skill he has acquired in this time has enabled him to develop a highly sophisticated planning and process model for successful enterprise bargaining. This proven methodology delivers results across all industries including distribution, hospitality, banking, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications and gaming.
“Ross’s knowledge of industrial relations and his ability to understand how and when to communicate internally with government; and with the media were instrumental in guiding the Association’s successful response to the campaign.”
Patrick Griffin OAM, Australian Hotels Association
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