Employers Need To Ensure They Understand New Workplace Rules

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3rd January 2010, 02:54pm - Views: 729

People Feature Australian Industry Group 1 image


Sunday 3 January 2010



Statement by Heather Ridout

Chief Executive Australian Industry Group

"Business will this week be operating in a whole new environment of workplace regulation

with the introduction of so-called Modern Awards and the new National Employment

Standards.  With the massive regulatory change, employers can potentially get into a lot of

trouble in a lot of new places

unless they move quickly

to understand the new rules and

entitlements," Ai Group Chief Executive Heather Ridout said today.

"The National Employment Standards and modern awards deal with day-to-day employment

issues such as minimum pay rates, hours of work and leave entitlements. Employers need to

ensure that they comply with the new “safety net”.

These changes are on top of the new

workplace laws that

have operated since

July last year and which include new bargaining,

unfair dismissal and general protections laws.  

“There is a great deal of assistance available to employers from industry associations, such

as Ai Group, and from Government sources.

“Thousands of employers have attended briefing sessions and training courses conducted by

Ai Group but it is clear that many thousands have not yet focussed on this issue.

“Award modernisation has been a massive and extremely complicated task. Also, the

National Employment Standards are far from straightforward.  While the Fair Work Act

contains tough penalties for non-compliance, the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman needs

to take an educative, rather than heavy-handed


in ensuring compliance,

particularly in the early stages of implementation.  

“If problems become apparent in the legislation or


the modern awards, the Government

and Fair Work Australia need to address the problems without delay. 

“Australia needs to maintain a flexible and productive system of workplace entitlements. The

benefit of flexibility was very evident during the recent economic downturn with higher

employment levels achieved in Australia than in other developed nations,” Mrs Ridout said.

Media Inquiries:

Gemma Riordan 0401 664 047

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