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.
The transition bill will be based on the incoming Government’s implementation plan. The implementation plan provides that AWAs made before the bill's commencement date will apply for their full term which may only be terminated in line with current rules by 90 days’ notice after the AWA expiry date.
The implementation plan will allow employers currently using AWAs to instead use Individual Transitional Employment Agreements (ITEAS), subject to the following criteria:
(i) they expire by 31 December 2009;
(ii) they do not disadvantage employees against an applicable collective agreement, award or the Fair Pay and Conditions Standard; and
(iii) they ensure future movements in minimum wages are passed on.
If an AWA is terminated and no new agreement is reached, then the employee would return to a relevant award, collective agreement or the AFPCS.
The transition bill is also proposed to define the 10 minimum employment standards, to become effective from 1 January 2010.
New simplified awards also to be addressed in the transition bill are planned to apply from the start of 2010.
For additional information on other proposed Industrial Relations changes by the new Labor government, please see our Blandslaw - Election IR policies on our Archive page.