Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act passed

The Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008 was passed by Parliament on 19 March. Date of Assent: 20 March 2008. (consolidated Workplace Relations Act  available here).

Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee delivered its report on the Bill on 17 March.

The Act, once it receives Assent (possibly on 27 March), will prohibit new Australian Workplace Agreements.

Any Workplace Agreements in force as at 1 December 2007 can be replaced by Individual Transitional Employment Agreements which will be effective until 1 January 2010.

Employers can continue to make collective agreements with employees provided they satisfy the "no disadvantage" test.

The process of modernising awards will commence (although there is doubt about the length of time this will take).

Pattern bargaining will be outlawed.

What will the Act not change?

The law dealing with unfair dismissals will not change until 1 January 2010.

The Act will not change anti-strike laws.

The Act will not change the right of employees who earn more than $100,000 to make individual common law agreements.

Pay equity for women will not be covered.

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