Western Australia considers changes to its industrial relations system, but stops short of joining the national industrial relations system.

The Western Australian Government released its draft IR Bill to Parliament recently, promising to modernise its industrial relations system, which currently covers a third of the state’s employees. The Bill incorporates many of the recommendations and stakeholder feedback received during the review of Western Australia’s industrial relations system commissioned by the State Government in 2009.  

The key changes proposed include harmonising unfair dismissal and right of entry laws with the federal Fair Work Act, but stops short of joining the national industrial relations system.  

Other changes proposed include:

  • introducing the State Employment Standards or “SES”, which will, amongst other things, create a minimum safety net for disabled employees, grant compassionate leave to permanent employees, prevent unreasonable deductions from employee’s pay, and require employers to provide pay slips
  • allow the State’s Industrial Relations Commission to modernise State private sector awards and undertake a review of these every 4 years
  • extend the maximum notional expiry date of State industrial agreements to 4 years and enterprise orders to 3 years
  • increase regulation of Registered Employee Organisations and Associations
  • increase maximum penalties for contravening terms of industrial instruments, orders made by the State’s Industrial Relations Commission or minimum conditions of employment.  

The Western Australian Government is seeking submissions on the draft Bill from interested parties until mid-January 2013.

Emily Haar, Law Clerk