Australia Releases Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013

Sunnyvale, Ca (PressExposure) April 29, 2013 -- Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013: Key Highlights

Proposition for flexible work arrangements (WEF - Proclamation date or 6 months from Royal Assent)

Employees will be empowered with the rights to request flexible working arrangements in the following situations:

* A parent or a carer has a child of school age or younger,
* Employees who are disabled,
* Employees who are aged 55 and over,
* An employee who is a "carer" as termed in the Carer Recognition Act 2010. Parents or carers returning from leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

Concurrent unpaid parental leave (WEF - Proclamation date or 6 months from Royal Assent)

The proposed changes to this are:

* An increase in the leave period to a maximum limit of 8 weeks from the current 3 weeks' period.
* Unpaid parental leave can now be taken in separate periods
* It is mandatory now, for employees to give a 10 weeks' notice when applying for the first time for this leave and 4 weeks' notice if they have earlier taken this leave.

Unpaid special maternity leave (WEF - Proclamation date or 6 months from Royal Assent)

Employees taking unpaid maternity leave will also be eligible for unpaid special maternity leave

Changes to standard working hours (WEF Jan 1, 2014)

* The Fair Work (FW) Act provisions will be amended to include a "consultation" related provision concerning modern awards and enterprise agreements. Under such a provision, the Bill expects employers to discuss with the employees modifications in the standard working hours.
* Employers shall require employees to be provided with information about the changes;
* Employees will be allowed to provide their observations with regards to the proposed changes; and
* Employers will need to consider the employees' opinion. Parental leave - "Transferring to a safe job" (WEF - Proclamation date or 6 months from Royal Assent)
* Pregnant employees are required to be shifted to a safe job to avoid any risk arising out of pregnancy. This will apply even to employees who have not served 12 months in a company or where the notice period requirements to take unpaid parental leave have not been satisfied.
* In case of unavailability of such a job, an employee could benefit from "no safe job leave" for the risk period where she would have otherwise been entitled to unpaid parental leave.

Modern award Objective (WEF Jan 1, 2014)

The FWC will now consider the need for additional remuneration for working overtime, unsocial or irregular or random hours, weekends, public holidays, or shifts when making or varying modern awards.

Anti-bullying (WEF - Proclamation date or 6 months from Royal Assent)

* Workers (employees and contractors) can now apply to FWC if they fairly believe that they have been bullied at work. FWC will be required to deal with this within 14 days of the application being made.
* Workers are considered to be "bullied at work" if they are at work in a constitutionally-covered workplace and are constantly subject to unreasonable behavior which creates a risk to health and safety.

Implications of the proposed law on the employers:

Employers may have to deal with new types of workplace claims. Hence, they must incorporate and comply with the FWC policies. It is advisable to seek legal advice to minimize the associated risks arising from these amendments.

For a detailed advice on the issue, contact the Global HR services team at info@nair-co.com.

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Press Release Submitted On: April 29, 2013 at 5:13 am
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