Following a trial last year, Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal is offering parties conciliating unfair dismissal claims a “cooling off” period of three business days to give unrepresented parties a chance to seek advice about the proposed settlement. The effect of the new cooling off period is that a party can decide to withdraw from a settlement reached at a conciliation conference by notifying the Fair Work Commission during the cooling off period of three business days following the conciliation conference. However, the cooling off period can be waived by the parties at their request.

FYI: A conciliation conference is an informal, private and generally confidential process where a member of the Fair Work Commission assists the parties to resolve an unfair dismissal application by agreement. It is a preliminary step intended to encourage resolution of the unfair dismissal claim before the application is considered and determined formally through a conference or hearing.