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With the commencement of Modern Awards on 1 January 2010 there were a number of applications made by certain employer groups seeking amendment to the General Retail Award, 2010 which were subsequently determined by Fair Work Australia.

In a full bench decision of FWA last week, the applications were determined resulting in a number of changes to the Award which we briefly summarise in this document: Blandslaw retail changes.

On 25 November 2008, Workplace Relations Minister, Julia Gillard, introduced into Parliament the awaited Fair Work Bill 2008. Earlier this year, transitional legislation was introduced, removing AWAs, introducing a "no disadvantage test" for agreements and beginning the award modernisation process.

The new Fair Work Bill seeks to implement the remaining changes save for a further transitional and consequential changes bill which is to be introduced next year that will "explain how existing employers and employees move to the new Forward with Fairness arrangements".

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The Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008 was tabled in parliament on 13 February 2008. This Bill is an amendment to the Workplace Relations Act 1996, effectively making a number of changes to the framework for workplace agreements.

The amendments proposed by the Bill are intended to give effect to the Government’s election commitments and begin the transition to a new workplace relations system.

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The incoming Rudd Government has announced that a transition bill addressing a ban on new AWAs, defining its 10 minimum employment standards and award simplification process will be introduced in the first sitting of the new parliament next year, with legislation for Labor's full workplace policy to become effective from 1 January 2010, to be later introduced. The first sitting day next year for both houses is 26 February 2008.

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A recent decision in the Federal Court highlights the importance of the content of company policy documents provided to employees and the need to ensure compliance with the processes and standards set out in such policy documents.

We recommend you carefully consider whether the terms of any policies or procedures that provide benefits to employees, or impose obligations on your business, are intended to be contractually binding on both you and your employees. It may be appropriate, for example, to clearly distinguish between “aspirational” statements and clear directions you expect employees to follow, or clear procedures that employees can reasonably expect your business to follow.

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What is spam?

Spam is the term commonly used to describe electronic 'junk mail' or unwanted messages sent to a person's email account or mobile phone.

Legislation relating to spam came into effect on 10 April 2004. The Spam Act, 2003 (Cth) makes it illegal to send, or cause to be sent, 'unsolicited commercial electronic messages' that have an Australian link.

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On 4 July 2007, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, The Hon. Joe Hockey MP, released the Workplace Relations Fact Sheet following the introduction of the Fairness Test under the Workplace Relations Amendment (A Stronger Safety Net) Act, 2007 on 28 June 2007.

The Fact Sheet contains information on employee entitlements, including the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard, support services and basic protections for working Australians. It also provides an overview of the Fairness Test.

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