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Industry supports new Regulation to streamline enterprise agreement variations during the COVID-19 crisis

"A new regulation made today by the Australian Government will assist employers and employees to vary enterprise agreements during the COVID-19 crisis. Many enterprise agreements were reached in better times and contain provisions which are impeding businesses in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Where changes to an enterprise agreement are agreed upon between the employer and the employees, the new regulation will enable the changes to be implemented without delay," Innes Willox, Chief Executive of the national employer association Ai Group, said today.

"The Fair Work Amendment (Variation of Enterprise Agreements) Regulations 2020 shorten the period that the employees must have access to a copy of a proposed variation from one week to one day. Employees are still required to have genuinely agreed to the proposed variation.

"Enterprise agreement variations that could be agreed upon between employers and employees, may include:

  • Delaying or cancelling future wage increases that are scheduled to be paid under the terms of the agreement;
  • More flexible working hours arrangements;
  • Removing restrictions on part-time employment;
  • Implementing more flexible leave arrangements; and
  • Giving the employer more rights to direct employees to take accrued leave.

"Relevantly, the Fair Work Commission has implemented a fast-track process for urgent applications to vary enterprise agreements to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Applications can be filed by emailing COVID-19Applications@fwc.gov.au. During the current crisis, employers, employees and their representatives need to work together to save businesses and jobs, and enterprise agreement variations have an important role to play," Mr Willox said.

The Regulation is at this link.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347