On 4 April 2013, Herbert Smith Freehills published a summary of the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2013 (Cth) (Bill), which proposed a number of changes to the Fair Work Act2009 (Cth) (see “Further IR reforms remain on government’s agenda”).
On 28 June 2013, the Bill received royal assent and became the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 (Amendment Act). The Amendment Act incorporates a number of changes which were made to the Bill, including:
- Consent arbitration: The FWC will have power to arbitrate unlawful termination and general protections disputes involving a dismissal if both parties consent
- Conferences: The amendments clarify the FWC’s ability to conciliate, mediate, express opinions and make recommendations in conferences
- Registered organisations: There are amendments to provisions relating to the disclosure requirements of registered organisations and branches, and
Anti-bullying provisions: The anti-bulling provisions are unchanged, save that:
- the provisions will now take effect from 1 January 2014, and
- there are a number of exceptions or exclusions to the provisions in the context of Australia’s defence, Australia’s national security, and covert operations of the Australian Federal Police.
An updated summary of the key changes made by the Amendment Act can be found here.