National Employment Standards now in effect
The National Employment Standards came into effect on 1 January 2010 and apply to all national system employees. There are a number of key new requirements employers should be aware of including:
- All new staff must be provided with a Fair Work Information Statement (produced by the Fair Work Ombudsman) which explains the employee's workplace rights.
- Parents of children who have not yet reached school age are entitled to request flexible work arrangements. The employer can only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds.
- For the first time, there is a legislative requirement to pay redundancy pay. The only exclusion is for employees employed by a small business.
- Employers must grant employees unpaid leave to participate in voluntary emergency activities.
Almost all employees in Australia now have their terms and conditions of employment covered by the national system. The few employees not covered by the national system include employees of state and local government and Western Australian employees not employed by a corporation. Although there will be a 12 month delay in the application of modern awards to some employees coming across from state systems, the National Employment Standards must be fully complied with by all national system employers from 1 January 2010.