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Workplace Relations Act 1996

  • - C2009C00075
  • In force - Superseded Version
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Act No. 86 of 1988 as amended, taking into account amendments up to Act No. 135 of 2008
An Act relating to workplace relations, and for other purposes
Administered by: Attorney-General's; Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Registered 02 Feb 2009
Start Date 23 Jun 2008
End Date 30 Jun 2009
Table of contents.
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Collapse Volume 1Volume 1
Collapse Part 1—PreliminaryPart 1—Preliminary
1 Short title [see Note 1]
2 Commencement [see Note 1]
3 Principal object
4 Definitions
5 Employee
6 Employer
7 Employment
8 Schedules 1, 6, 7, 7A, 7B, 8, and 9 have effect
9 Schedule 10 has effect
10 Act binds Crown
11 Modifications for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
12 Exclusion of persons insufficiently connected with Australia
13 Extraterritorial application
14 Act not to apply so as to exceed Commonwealth power
15 Application of Criminal Code
16 Act excludes some State and Territory laws
17 Awards, agreements and Commission orders prevail over State and Territory law etc.
18 Act may exclude State and Territory laws in other cases
Expand Part 2—Australian Fair Pay CommissionPart 2—Australian Fair Pay Commission
Expand Part 3—Australian Industrial Relations CommissionPart 3—Australian Industrial Relations Commission
Expand Part 4—Australian Industrial RegistryPart 4—Australian Industrial Registry
Expand Part 5—Workplace Authority DirectorPart 5—Workplace Authority Director
Expand Part 5A—Workplace OmbudsmanPart 5A—Workplace Ombudsman
Expand Part 6—Workplace inspectorsPart 6—Workplace inspectors
Expand Part 7—The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions StandardPart 7—The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard
Expand Part 8—Workplace agreementsPart 8—Workplace agreements
Expand Part 9—Industrial actionPart 9—Industrial action
Expand Part 10—AwardsPart 10—Awards
Expand Part 10A—Award modernisationPart 10A—Award modernisation
Expand Part 11—Transmission of business rulesPart 11—Transmission of business rules
Expand Part 12—Minimum entitlements of employeesPart 12—Minimum entitlements of employees
Expand Part 13—Dispute resolution processesPart 13—Dispute resolution processes
Expand Part 14—CompliancePart 14—Compliance
Expand Part 15—Right of entryPart 15—Right of entry
Expand Part 16—Freedom of associationPart 16—Freedom of association
Expand Part 17—OffencesPart 17—Offences
Expand Part 18—CostsPart 18—Costs
Expand Part 19—MiscellaneousPart 19—Miscellaneous
Expand Part 20—Jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates CourtPart 20—Jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court
Expand Part 21—Matters referred by VictoriaPart 21—Matters referred by Victoria
Expand Part 22—Sham arrangementsPart 22—Sham arrangements
Expand Part 23—School‑based apprentices and traineesPart 23—School‑based apprentices and trainees
Expand Volume 2Volume 2
Volume 3

Workplace Relations Act 1996

Act No. 86 of 1988 as amended

This compilation was prepared on 6 January 2009
taking into account amendments up to Act No. 135 of 2008

Volume 1 includes:       Table of Contents
                                    Sections 1 – 919

The text of any of those amendments not in force
on that date is appended in the Notes section

The operation of amendments that have been incorporated may be
affected by application provisions that are set out in the Notes section

Volume 2 includes:       Table of Contents
                                    Schedules 1 – 10

Volume 3 includes:       Note 1
                                    Table of Acts
                                    Act Notes
                                    Table of Amendments
                                    Repeal Table
                                    Note 2
                                    Table A
                                    Renumbering Table

Prepared by the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing,
Attorney‑General’s Department, Canberra

 

 

 


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                               1

1............ Short title [see Note 1]....................................................................... 1

2............ Commencement [see Note 1].............................................................. 1

3............ Principal object................................................................................... 1

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

5............ Employee.......................................................................................... 17

6............ Employer.......................................................................................... 18

7............ Employment..................................................................................... 19

8............ Schedules 1, 6, 7, 7A, 7B, 8, and 9 have effect................................. 19

9............ Schedule 10 has effect....................................................................... 19

10.......... Act binds Crown.............................................................................. 20

11.......... Modifications for Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.... 20

12.......... Exclusion of persons insufficiently connected with Australia......... 20

13.......... Extraterritorial application................................................................ 21

14.......... Act not to apply so as to exceed Commonwealth power................ 22

15.......... Application of Criminal Code.......................................................... 24

16.......... Act excludes some State and Territory laws.................................... 24

17.......... Awards, agreements and Commission orders prevail over State and Territory law etc.         26

18.......... Act may exclude State and Territory laws in other cases................. 27

Part 2—Australian Fair Pay Commission                                                                28

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                            28

19.......... Definitions........................................................................................ 28

Division 2—Australian Fair Pay Commission                                                29

Subdivision A—Establishment and functions                                                      29

20.......... Establishment................................................................................... 29

21.......... Functions of the AFPC.................................................................... 29

Subdivision B—AFPC’s wage‑setting function                                                   29

22.......... AFPC’s wage‑setting function......................................................... 29

23.......... AFPC’s wage‑setting parameters..................................................... 30

24.......... Wage reviews and wage‑setting decisions......................................... 30

25.......... Constitution of the AFPC for wage‑setting powers........................ 31

26.......... Publishing wage‑setting decisions etc............................................... 31

Subdivision C—Operation of the AFPC                                                                31

27.......... AFPC to determine its own procedures........................................... 31

28.......... Annual report................................................................................... 32

Subdivision D—AFPC Chair                                                                                   32

29.......... Appointment.................................................................................... 32

30.......... Remuneration.................................................................................... 32

31.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 32

32.......... Engaging in other paid employment................................................. 33

33.......... Disclosure of interests...................................................................... 33

34.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 33

35.......... Termination of appointment............................................................ 33

36.......... Other terms and conditions.............................................................. 35

37.......... Acting AFPC Chair.......................................................................... 35

Subdivision E—AFPC Commissioners                                                                 35

38.......... Appointment.................................................................................... 35

39.......... Remuneration.................................................................................... 36

40.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 36

41.......... Disclosure of interests...................................................................... 36

42.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 36

43.......... Termination of appointment............................................................ 36

44.......... Other terms and conditions.............................................................. 38

45.......... Acting AFPC Commissioners.......................................................... 38

Division 3—AFPC Secretariat                                                                               39

Subdivision A—Establishment and function                                                        39

46.......... Establishment................................................................................... 39

47.......... Function............................................................................................ 39

Subdivision B—Operation of the AFPC Secretariat                                          39

48.......... AFPC Chair may give directions...................................................... 39

49.......... Annual report................................................................................... 39

Subdivision C—The Director of the Secretariat                                                 40

50.......... Appointment.................................................................................... 40

51.......... Remuneration.................................................................................... 40

52.......... Leave of absence............................................................................... 40

53.......... Engaging in other paid employment................................................. 40

54.......... Disclosure of interests...................................................................... 40

55.......... Resignation....................................................................................... 41

56.......... Termination of appointment............................................................ 41

57.......... Other terms and conditions.............................................................. 42

58.......... Acting Director of the Secretariat..................................................... 42

Subdivision D—Staff and consultants                                                                   43

59.......... Staff.................................................................................................. 43

60.......... Consultants....................................................................................... 43

Part 3—Australian Industrial Relations Commission                                      44

Division 1—Establishment of Commission                                                     44

61.......... Establishment of Commission.......................................................... 44

62.......... Functions of Commission................................................................. 44

63.......... Appointment of Commission members etc...................................... 44

64.......... Qualifications for appointment........................................................ 45

65.......... Seniority........................................................................................... 46

66.......... Performance of duties on part‑time basis......................................... 46

67.......... Dual federal and State appointments................................................ 47

68.......... Performance of duties by dual federal and State appointees............ 48

69.......... Dual federal appointments............................................................... 48

70.......... Appointment of a Judge as President not to affect tenure etc......... 48

71.......... Tenure of Commission members...................................................... 49

72.......... Acting President............................................................................... 49

73.......... Acting Vice President....................................................................... 50

74.......... Acting Senior Deputy President....................................................... 50

75.......... Acting Deputy Presidents................................................................ 51

76.......... Oath or affirmation of office............................................................. 51

77.......... Discharge of Commission’s business............................................... 52

78.......... Duty of Commission members......................................................... 52

79.......... Remuneration and allowances of Presidential Members etc............. 52

80.......... Application of Judges’ Pensions Act............................................... 54

81.......... Remuneration and allowances of Commissioners............................. 56

82.......... Removal of Presidential Member from office................................... 56

83.......... Outside employment of Commissioner............................................ 56

84.......... Leave of absence of Commissioner................................................... 57

85.......... Disclosure of interest by Commission members.............................. 57

86.......... Termination of appointment of Commissioner................................ 58

87.......... Resignation by Commission member............................................... 58

Division 2—Organisation of Commission                                                        59

88.......... Manner in which Commission may be constituted.......................... 59

89.......... Powers exercisable by single member of Commission...................... 59

90.......... Functions and powers conferred on members.................................. 59

91.......... Exercise of Commission powers....................................................... 60

92.......... Continuation of hearing by Commission.......................................... 60

93.......... Commission divided in opinion........................................................ 61

94.......... Arrangement of business of Commission......................................... 61

95.......... Panels of Commission for particular industries................................ 62

96.......... Delegation by President.................................................................... 62

97.......... Protection of Commission members................................................. 63

98.......... Co‑operation with the States by President...................................... 63

99.......... Co‑operation with the States by Registrar....................................... 63

Division 3—Representation and intervention                                               64

100........ Representation of parties before Commission................................. 64

101........ Intervention generally....................................................................... 66

102........ Particular rights of intervention of Minister..................................... 66

Division 4—General matters relating to the powers and procedures of the Commission          67

Subdivision A—General matters Commission to take into account                67

103........ Commission to take into account the public interest....................... 67

104........ Commission to take into account discrimination issues................... 67

105........ Commission to take account of Racial Discrimination Act, Sex Discrimination Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Age Discrimination Act.................................................................... 68

106........ Commission to take account of Family Responsibilities Convention 68

107........ Safety, health and welfare of employees.......................................... 68

108........ Commission to act quickly............................................................... 68

109........ Commission to avoid technicalities and facilitate fair conduct of proceedings        69

Subdivision B—Particular powers and procedures of the Commission         69

110........ Procedure of Commission................................................................. 69

111........ Particular powers of Commission.................................................... 69

112........ Reference of proceedings to Full Bench........................................... 72

113........ President may deal with certain proceedings.................................... 73

114........ Review on application by Minister.................................................. 74

115........ Compulsory conferences.................................................................. 75

116........ Power to override certain laws affecting public sector employment 75

117........ State authorities may be restrained from dealing with matter that is before the Commission 76

118........ Joint sessions of Commission.......................................................... 76

119........ Revocation and suspension of awards and orders............................ 77

Division 5—Appeals to Full Bench and references to Court                79

120........ Appeals to Full Bench relating to matters arising other than under the Registration and Accountability of Organisations Schedule..................................................................... 79

121........ Appeals to Full Bench relating to matters arising under the Registration and Accountability of Organisations Schedule etc..................................................................................................... 81

122........ References to Court by Commission on question of law................. 83

Division 6—Miscellaneous                                                                                      84

123........ Seals of Commission......................................................................... 84

124........ Rules of Commission........................................................................ 84

125........ President must provide certain information etc. to the Minister..... 85

126........ Annual report of Commission.......................................................... 85

Part 4—Australian Industrial Registry                                                                     86

Division 1—Interpretation                                                                                       86

127........ Definition of State industrial body.................................................... 86

Division 2—Establishment and functions of Australian Industrial Registry       87

128........ Australian Industrial Registry.......................................................... 87

129........ Functions of the Industrial Registry................................................. 87

130........ Registries.......................................................................................... 89

131........ Seals of the Registry......................................................................... 89

132........ Annual report of Industrial Registry................................................ 89

Division 3—Registrars                                                                                              90

133........ Industrial Registrar........................................................................... 90

134........ Tenure of office of Industrial Registrar............................................ 91

135........ Remuneration and allowances of Industrial Registrar....................... 92

136........ Outside employment of Industrial Registrar.................................... 92

137........ Disclosure of interests by Industrial Registrar................................. 92

138........ Leave of absence of Industrial Registrar........................................... 92

139........ Resignation by Industrial Registrar.................................................. 93

140........ Termination of appointment of Industrial Registrar........................ 93

141........ Deputy Industrial Registrars............................................................ 93

142........ Acting Industrial Registrar................................................................ 95

143........ Acting Deputy Industrial Registrars................................................ 95

144........ Oath or affirmation of office of Registrar......................................... 96

Division 4—References and appeals                                                                  97

145........ References by Registrar to Commission........................................... 97

146........ Removal of matters before Registrar................................................ 97

147........ Appeals from Registrar to Commission........................................... 97

148........ References to Court by Registrar on question of law....................... 98

Division 5—Staff                                                                                                          100

149........ Staff................................................................................................ 100

Part 5—Workplace Authority Director                                                                  101

Division 1—Workplace Authority Director                                                  101

Subdivision A—Establishment and functions                                                    101

150A..... Workplace Authority Director....................................................... 101

150B..... Functions of Workplace Authority Director.................................. 101

150C..... Minister may give directions to Workplace Authority Director.... 102

Subdivision B—Appointment and terms and conditions                                  103

151A..... Appointment of Workplace Authority Director............................ 103

151B..... Remuneration.................................................................................. 103

151C..... Leave of absence............................................................................. 103

151D..... Other terms and conditions............................................................ 104

151E...... Outside employment...................................................................... 104

151F...... Disclosure of interests.................................................................... 104

151G..... Acting appointments...................................................................... 104

151H..... Resignation..................................................................................... 105

151J...... Termination of appointment.......................................................... 105

Division 2—Workplace Authority Deputy Directors                               106

152A..... Workplace Authority Deputy Directors........................................ 106

152B..... Appointment of Workplace Authority Deputy Director.............. 106

152C..... Remuneration.................................................................................. 106

152D..... Leave of absence............................................................................. 107

152E...... Other terms and conditions............................................................ 107

152F...... Outside employment...................................................................... 107

152G..... Disclosure of interests.................................................................... 107

152H..... Resignation..................................................................................... 108

152J...... Termination of appointment.......................................................... 108

Division 3—Staff, delegations etc.                                                                     109

153A..... Staff................................................................................................ 109

153B..... Workplace Authority..................................................................... 109

153C..... Delegation....................................................................................... 109

Division 4—Reporting and disclosing information                                   110

Subdivision A—Reporting                                                                                     110

163A..... Minister may require reports......................................................... 110

163B..... Annual report................................................................................. 110

163C..... Reports not to include information relating to an individual’s affairs 110

Subdivision B—Disclosing information                                                             111

164A..... Disclosure of information by workplace agreement officials......... 111

165........ Identity of parties to ITEAs not to be disclosed........................... 112

166........ Publication of workplace agreements etc. by Workplace Authority Director         113

Part 5A—Workplace Ombudsman                                                                            114

Division 1—Establishment and functions                                                      114

166A..... Workplace Ombudsman................................................................. 114

166B..... Functions of the Workplace Ombudsman...................................... 114

166C..... Minister may give directions to Workplace Ombudsman.............. 115

Division 2—Appointment and terms and conditions                               116

166D..... Appointment of Workplace Ombudsman...................................... 116

166E...... Remuneration.................................................................................. 116

166F...... Leave of absence............................................................................. 116

166G..... Other terms and conditions............................................................ 117

166H..... Outside employment...................................................................... 117

166J...... Disclosure of interests.................................................................... 117

166K..... Acting appointments...................................................................... 117

166L...... Resignation..................................................................................... 118

166M.... Termination of appointment.......................................................... 118

Division 3—Staff, delegations etc.                                                                     119

166N..... Staff................................................................................................ 119

166P...... Office of the Workplace Ombudsman............................................ 119

166Q..... Delegation....................................................................................... 119

Division 4—Reporting and disclosing information                                   121

Subdivision A—Reporting to Minister                                                                121

166R..... Minister may require reports......................................................... 121

166S...... Annual report................................................................................. 121

166T..... Reports not to include information relating to an individual’s affairs 121

Subdivision B—Disclosing information                                                             122

166U..... Disclosure of information by members of the Office of the Workplace Ombudsman            122

166V..... Directions about exercise of powers to disclose information......... 123

Part 6—Workplace inspectors                                                                                     124

167........ Inspectors....................................................................................... 124

168........ Identity cards.................................................................................. 125

169........ Powers of inspectors...................................................................... 125

Part 7—The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard                        129

Division 1—Preliminary                                                                                          129

171........ Purpose of Part............................................................................... 129

172........ Operation of the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard..... 129

173........ Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard cannot be excluded. 130

174........ Extraterritorial extension................................................................. 130

175........ Model dispute resolution process.................................................. 132

Division 2—Wages                                                                                                     133

Subdivision A—Preliminary                                                                                 133

176........ AFPC’s wage‑setting parameters etc............................................. 133

178........ Definitions...................................................................................... 133

179........ Meaning of casual loading provisions........................................... 138

180........ Meaning of classification................................................................ 138

181........ Meaning of rate provisions............................................................ 139

Subdivision B—Guarantee of basic rates of pay                                                140

182........ The guarantee.................................................................................. 140

183........ An employee’s guaranteed hours for the purpose of section 182 141

184........ Modified operation of section 182 to continue effect of Supported Wage System for certain employees with a disability......................................................................................... 144

Subdivision C—Guarantee of casual loadings                                                   144

185........ The guarantee.................................................................................. 144

186........ Default casual loading percentage................................................... 145

Subdivision D—Guarantee of frequency of payment                                         146

189........ The guarantee.................................................................................. 146

Subdivision E—Guarantee against reductions below pre‑reform commencement rates   147

190........ The guarantee where only basic periodic rates of pay are involved 147

191........ The guarantee where basic piece rates of pay are involved............ 148

192........ The guarantee for casual loadings that apply to basic periodic rates of pay           149

Subdivision F—The guarantee against reductions below Federal Minimum Wages (FMWs)         150

193........ The guarantee.................................................................................. 150

Subdivision G—Federal Minimum Wages (FMWs)                                         151

194........ When is there an FMW for an employee?...................................... 151

195........ Standard FMW............................................................................... 152

196........ Adjustment of standard FMW....................................................... 152

199........ How a special FMW is to be expressed......................................... 152

200........ Adjustment of a special FMW....................................................... 152

Subdivision H—Australian Pay and Classification Scales (APCSs): general provisions 153

201........ What is an APCS?.......................................................................... 153

202........ What must or may be in an APCS?................................................ 153

203........ How pay rates and loadings are to be expressed in an APCS........ 154

204........ When is employment covered by an APCS?.................................. 155

205........ What if 2 or more APCSs would otherwise cover an employee?... 155

207........ Deeming APCS rates to at least equal FMW rates after first exercise of AFPC’s powers takes effect  156

Subdivision I—Australian Pay and Classification Scales: preserved APCSs 157

208........ Deriving preserved APCSs from pre‑reform wage instruments..... 157

209........ Notional adjustment: rates and loadings determined as for reform comparison day               158

210........ Notional adjustment: deducing basic periodic rate of pay and casual loading from composite rate        159

211........ Notional adjustment: how basic periodic rates and loadings are expressed             160

212........ Regulations dealing with notional adjustments............................... 161

213........ Certain regulations relating to preserved APCSs may take effect before registration             161

Subdivision K—Australian Pay and Classification Scales: duration and adjustment of APCSs (preserved or new)   162

215........ Duration of APCSs......................................................................... 162

216........ Adjustment of APCSs.................................................................... 162

Subdivision L—Adjustments to incorporate 2005 Safety Net Review etc.   162

218........ Adjustments to incorporate 2005 Safety Net Review................... 162

219........ Regulations may require adjustments to incorporate other decisions 163

Subdivision M—Special provisions relating to APCSs for employees with a disability