In a, the Fair Work Commission (the “Commission”) has announced the publication of a new to help employers and employees lodge compliant applications for , including how to avoid the common problems that delay the approval process. The Commission reports the volume of non-compliant agreement applications have more than doubled since 2016.
According to the Commission, the object of the new Guide is:
With this new information, compliant agreements and associated applications are able to be dealt with more quickly by the Commission. It also provides a detailed description of more than 20 frequently encountered errors in agreement applications and identifies steps to avoid them.
The Commission routinely seeks to work with parties to remedy these defects rather than the alternative option of dismissing the applications, which would require the parties to recommence bargaining.
The information provided by thefocuses on the making of single enterprise agreements and subsequent approval applications and:
The Commission has indicated they have taken a number of steps to assist parties lodge compliant agreements and approval applications, and intend to introduce further initiatives “to improve timeliness performance by increasing the level of compliance at lodgment.”
Recent improvements have included:
Prior to the Fair Work Amendment (Repeal of 4 Yearly Reviews and Other Measures) Act 2018 (Cth) (which commenced on 12 December 2018), the Commission had no capacity to approve agreements where there had been certain errors in theprocess under the FW Act. Minor defects in relation to the content or form of the Notice of Employee Representational Rights and failure to meet some required time-frames were some of the errors which were noted.
The amending Act allows Members of the Commission to overlook some minor procedural or technical errors when approving enterprise agreements.
The Commission indicates a prototype of a “smart form” for approval applications will soon be available to the Agreements User Group - see pg 7, para 43 of the:
The Agreements User Group was established by the Commission and met for the first time on 19 February 2019. It comprises employers and organisations that lodged, or are associated with, the greatest number of agreement applications in 2018.
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