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New Right of Entry Rules – Effective 1 July 2024

Big changes are here! Starting 1 July 2024, new rules for right of entry permits and exemption certificates are shaking things up. Here’s what you need to know:

Right of Entry Exemption Certificates

These certificates allow permit holders to skip the required notice for a permitted visit when investigating a suspected breach of the Fair Work Act. The Fair Work Commission (the Commission) will issue these certificates under specific conditions:

  • If there's a suspected underpayment of a union member.

  • If giving advance notice would hinder an effective investigation.

The Commission can also put conditions on these permits and certificates to ensure they’re used lawfully and protect permit holders from improper conduct.

Workplace Delegates – New Rights from 15 December 2023

Workplace delegates, who are employees elected or appointed to represent members of their organisation, now have new rights and protections, including:

  • Representing members' industrial interests, even in disputes.

  • Reasonable communication with members about their industrial interests.

  • Access to the workplace and facilities to represent these interests.

  • Paid time during normal working hours for training (for delegates in non-small businesses).

Upcoming Changes to Awards and Agreements

From 1 July 2024, all awards, new enterprise agreements, and workplace determinations must include a delegates’ rights term.

New Rights for Workplace Delegates of Regulated Workers – Effective 26 August 2024

Starting 26 August 2024, new rights extend to workplace delegates representing union members who are regulated workers. These include:

  • Representing the industrial interests of regulated workers.

  • Reasonable communication and access to workplace facilities.

  • Protection from unreasonable actions by regulated businesses.

Example: Lisa the Workplace Delegate

Lisa works for a construction company and is elected as a union delegate. She wants to hold a meeting to discuss collective bargaining but finds is instructed by her manager that she cannot meet with the union on the worksite in work time. This action is a breach of Lisa's rights as a workplace delegate and is unlawful.

Changes for Registered Organisations – Effective 27 February 2024

New laws restore the requirement for demerger applications by amalgamated registered organisations (like unions) to be made within 2 to 5 years after amalgamation. Plus, there are some technical tweaks to the demerger processes. The Commission continues to be the regulator for registered organisations.

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