* Unlike other countries applying the English common law like Britain and the United States, whose system rely upon legislations to provide minimum labour standards, the entire Australian safety net comprises the National Employment Standards (legislated standards in the Fair Work Act 2009) and the 122 modern awards, which are specific in their application to given industries. The NES apply to all employees who come within the fair work umbrella.
* Instead of directly intervening in the labour market by enacting minimum labour standards, the Australian parliaments were content to ensure such minimum conditions of employment would be determined by process of conciliation and arbitration through labour courts and industrial relations tribunals.
* Australia’s new safety net of minimum terms is large, which protecting employees from discrimination, adverse employer action and unfair termination. It offers more protection than its in the UK or US, through a combination of arbitration and legislation.
* Disadvantage: harder to update and alter, because of its varied terms and conditions of employment specified in awards.
Work Choices and Fair Work: the move to legislated standards
* Howard Liberal Party and National Party Coalition government
* Elected in 1996
* Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) - a statutory mechanism for employers and individual employees to make agreements, it attempted to legislated a safety net of minimum wages and terms but failed.
* Work Choices (2005) – the first time to establish a statutory safety net of minimum wages and terms, Fair Pay and Conditions Standard (FPCS)
* About FPCS
* Employers and employees could obtain immediate operation of AWAs or individual agreement making (non-union collective agreements) without going through the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
* The FPCS possessed a high level of flexibility, which often worked to the...